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Kenney Café Teaches Employment Skills

HANNIBAL – About a dozen Hannibal Central School District special education students are acquiring communication, job and teamwork skills at the Kenney Café.

" data-medium-file="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/phone-order-300x200.jpg" data-large-file="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/phone-order-460x307.jpg" class="wp-image-183415 size-medium" src="http://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/phone-order-300x200.jpg" alt="Fifth grader Chris Guernsey takes a phone order in the Kenney Café, a new business venture for the middle and high school Life Skills class." width="300" height="200" srcset="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/phone-order-300x200.jpg 300w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/phone-order-150x100.jpg 150w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/phone-order-768x512.jpg 768w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/phone-order-460x307.jpg 460w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />
Fifth grader Chris Guernsey takes a phone order in the Kenney Café, a new business venture for the middle and high school Life Skills class. At right is Emily VanLinder, job coach.

The Life Skills middle and high school classes, both housed at Dennis M. Kenney Middle School, operate the new business in their classroom space from 8:40 to 9:30 a.m. each Wednesday.

Building staff members may email, call-in or visit the café to order coffee, tea, hot cocoa or muffins.

Delivery, eat-in and take-out orders are accepted.

Each month students will rotate job duties, which include taking orders, barista, food service, greeter and cashier.

Any tips received will go toward the group’s transportation costs to the Special Olympics.

Kenney Café waitress Breanna Warner, an 11th grader, chats with school psychologist Meredith Furlong who stopped by the café for a cup of coffee.
Kenney Café waitress Breanna Warner, an 11th grader, chats with school psychologist Meredith Furlong who stopped by the café for a cup of coffee.

“Most of the kids like it and the staff here has been great; they’re very patient with the kids,” said Life Skills teacher Alicia Knight.

Knight and fellow Life Skills teacher Mindy Kaufman said the Kenney Café experience is an excellent way for the students to gain necessary skills for future employment.

The high school group will relocate to the high school next school year, where another café will open.

Knight said the program will ideally grow to include collaborations with local businesses who may employ program students.