Blue and Gold Café opens at Postlethwait

CAMDEN — At F. Niel Postlethwait Middle School, seven students from the John S. Charlton School program recently officiated in a ribbon-cutting to open the sixth Blue and Gold Café in the Caesar Rodney School District.

In front of district administrators, teachers, child nutrition staff, cafeteria workers, school board members and fellow classmates, all seven Charlton students greeted customers, took coffee, tea and hot chocolate requests, poured beverages and took payments.

“I think the Blue and Gold Café program is wonderful,” said Charlton teacher Karen Abate. “The Blue and Gold Café allows our students to interact with other students and staff while improving their functional life skills including inventory control, customer service and currency exchange. These are the kinds of skills our students will be able to use when applying for jobs as they get older.”

Added Ms. Abate, “Several of our students were nervous at the beginning of the program and didn’t think they could do this. Now, they are becoming more independent and are building up their confidence. They feel good in knowing they can get a job, make money and be productive.”

“The students and staff from our Charlton Program are our students and staff,” said Dr. Kristina Failing, principal at Postlethwait Middle School. “They are our family and are an integral part of our fabric and community. I don’t want to imagine a day without our buddies. Our Brew & Gold Café crew are hard workers and bring the best energy to school each and every day. We are privileged and honored to work beside and with them!”

In addition to Postlethwait Middle School, there are currently five other Blue and Gold Café stations currently established: Allen Frear Elementary School partnering with the John S. Charlton School; Fred Fifer Middle School; Wesley College; and Caesar Rodney High School. Students from the high school pitch in to help the Charlton students maintain the Blue and Gold Café there. An additional location, at Dover Air Base Middle School, has been requested.

Michelle Flanders, principal at the John S. Charlton School praised its program. “The Blue and Gold Café program has been a great success for us here at Charlton. We constantly work with our students to prepare them for the workforce once they graduate from our school. Programs like this help provide our students with basic life skills needed to become productive members of our society.” Added Ms. Flanders, “Entrepreneurship is a thriving area of employment for persons with disabilities and we are encouraging any avenue that the students wish to pursue.”

Depending on the site, the café is open for student arrival. At CRHS and at the Roads to Success program at Wesley College, students are allowed to make purchases. However, at the younger grades, sales are limited to staff only. After the morning rush, deliveries are made to the classrooms for staff as well. Orders are placed in advance with an order sheet that is submitted. Some staff opt for a daily delivery.

The Brew And Gold Cafes are open to the public whenever there is an evening or special day events such as Parent Conferences, PBS Celebration, and Family Fun Nights.

All monies collected are used to resupply the coffee, tea and hot chocolate inventory while any profits are donated to the Special Olympics of Delaware.

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