Mom of child with autism opens coffee shop to help adults with disabilities

- The Breaking Grounds coffee shop in Mt. Holly, New Jersey has only been in business for a little over a month but this coffee shop has already changed the lives of many of its employees.

“I feel very strongly that I am doing exactly what I was born to do and that is a very special gift.”

Brandi Fishman’s drive is to provide meaningful work for adults with developmental disabilities.

“They really get to do everything…stocking the shelves to measuring out the coffee to grinding the beans. It has been amazing.  They are happy to come to work.  They have a purpose. They know that we rely on them,” says Brandi Fishman. 

It is a perfect place to work.

Brandi says, “They get to work on their social skills and it improves their confidence and it makes them more outgoing.  It is beneficial to everybody.”

Brandi’s motivation for all this is her 10-year-old Daughter Zoey who has Autism.

“So when your child turns 21. On their 21st birthday, they age out of the school system. So, the school is no longer responsible for their education.  So at that point, the state becomes responsible,” says Brandi, “All the support that they had from 3-21 are no longer available as an adult.  It is quit terrifying for a lot of the parents.”

So Brandi founded the Zefer Foundation to build a bridge into adulthood for these families who are aging out of school. She also wants to ensure adults with developmental disabilities a place to work. 

“You raise your child for sixty years and they are going to out-live you. So, you have to have a plan for them after you are deceased,” says Brandi.

The coffee shop is just the beginning. Brandi’s plan is to open more businesses that appeal to more people.

“We are just scraping the surface and discovering what these individuals are capable of.”
 

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