When the Secondary Program moved into its newly renovated Moorestown home in 2004, community connections and lasting relationships were born. Among them was The Tree House Coffee Shop & Cafe, one of Kingsway’s first job sites in the Community Based Instruction Program, joining its roster of businesses in 2005.
“This is a great job site,” says Kingsway job coach Betty Trout. “The kids really like working here and the staff is terrific.” Students wipe down tables, sweep, and clean and disinfect the toys that are used during the cafe’s “Espresso Yourself” play dates.
It’s been 13 years and the shop, owned by Randy & Tina Van Osten, continues to welcome Kingsway’s students, employing them in an unpaid, work experience capacity. The students work hard and learn a lot about routine and responsibility, but it’s more than just about sweeping and wiping down tables for the owner of the popular cafe.
“Seeing the kids is the highlight of our week,” says Randy, whose brother, Ryan, worked at the secondary program at its incepetion. “We look forward to seeing them and are happy to be able to give back to the community this way.”
Co-owner, Tina, who works at Urban Promise, ran into a former Kingsway student a short time ago, Randy recalls, and that conversation was especially gratifying.
“That was the best– when we hear a former student talk about about how much they liked working here.”