Coffee shop provides inclusion for employees of different abilities

Positively KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If you’re feeling sluggish, a new coffee shop will perk you right up. Not because of the caffeine, but because the employees are the real draw there. Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack is set to open mid-March on 85th and Cliff Avenue. It’s providing opportunities for people who society often overlooks.

No coffee was percolating Friday, but there was plenty of excitement brewing behind the counter at Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack. When it opens, Jack Reel will be at the register.

“Just to be able to run the coffee stations and make people pay for their coffee,” Reel said.

Reel says he’s looking forward to his new job.

“You get paid, for one thing,” Reel said.

That’s true, a paycheck is a very valuable thing to have. Lena Gronemeyer, however, is looking forward to earning respect from her co-workers.

Lena: “Telling people what to do.”
Brady: “Oh, so you’re going to be giving people directions then?”
Lena: “Uh huh! Yeah!”

Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack, located inside the All American Gymnastics Academy, is more than just a coffee shop, because it’s hiring people of different intellectual and physical abilities.

“We had a girl here last night and this is going to be her first job in ten years. It’s providing opportunities for people in the community who typically aren’t able to walk into any old place and get a job,” Lindsey Janklow, vice president of Yaks Give Back Foundation, said.

Yaks Give Back executive director Kathy Luke says creating this place is a passion project, because it’s allowing employees to have a job and an opportunity for inclusion.

“You are just so full of joy. It just, seeing somebody have something they didn’t think they’d have,” Luke said.

Brady: “What are you excited about working here?”
Lena: “Friends.”
Brady: “Did you say friends?”
Lena: “Yeah.”
Brady: “What about friends?”
Lena: “I like to make them.”

Reel and Gronemeyer say Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack is the place to be.

“The coffee will be good,” Reel said.

“Please come,” Gronemeyer said.

A paycheck is important, but finding your value where you work is worth more than all the riches of the world.

“It does make you feel (good) when you know you did a good job,” Reel said.

You can donate to Yakkity Yak Coffee Shack on its website.

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