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Grounds for Thought coffee shop helps students with special needs help others

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JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Seneca Valley students with special needs now have the opportunity to gain work experience in their very own coffee shop, Grounds for Thought.
 
As part of life skills classes, the shop provides vocational training for students to learn about customer service and gain food and beverage work experience.
 
The grand opening was held Thursday morning in the senior high school. On the first day, the lines were long and the workers were hustling, making cup after cup of coffee. The students staffing the store take orders, brew coffee, and add cream and sugar. They’re not just waiting on customers; they’re serving their peers. 
 
But organizers said it’s so busy and so fun, students don’t even know they’re learning work skills and social skills. 
 
“It teaches me about coffee, putting it in a cup, and more social skills,” said Hannah Knapp, a student working at the shop. “I know everyone.”
 
“You get to meet lots of different people and they say, ‘Hey you work at the coffee shop!” Zach Brezina said.
 
While the students are getting hands-on learning, they are also teaching others. 
 
“It’s not just a coffee shop. It’s so much more than that,” teacher Jessica Pyle said.