APNMaking an Impact

Special Grounds – Making An Impact

By August 25, 2020 No Comments
Special Grounds


By Matt Rychener

Sara’s Garden is pleased and SO excited to announce the opening of its Special Grounds Coffee Shop, Event Center, and Career Center at 854 S. Shoop Avenue in Wauseon! The new Career Center is scheduled to open August 19 with the start of New Horizons Academy’s school year while the Special Grounds Coffee Shop and Event Center will open this fall, staffed by many of our special needs high school students.

During a normal school year, it is always challenging to find vocational placements for our special needs high schoolers; and this year is anything but normal. With higher unemployment rates in Northwest Ohio and so many public health restrictions due to the coronavirus, this year could have been a vocational placement and employment nightmare; instead, it is a dream come true! With the purchase of the former First Baptist Church, NHA now has its very own built-in vocational options.

Over half of the building is being converted into a Career Center with classrooms and skills labs for our New Horizons Academy students which will promote vocational training and employment. Education and training will include daily life and personal care skills, basic reading and math literacy, employment readiness with customer service and socialization activities, and vocational education and training in such areas as food preparation, cooking, cleaning, gardening, landscaping, event prep, catering, coffee roasting and packaging, and woodworking. For more information on enrolling a special needs student in New Horizons Academy’s Career Center or to schedule a tour, call Admissions Coordinator Ronda Rupp at 419-335-7272 or email rondar@sarasgarden.org.

Special education students up to age 21 (and hopefully young adults after they get out of school) will progress from learning basic life skills to practicing in the skills labs to eventually working in our Special Grounds Coffee Shop and Event Center. The Event Center will be available for individual, family, and business rentals for weddings, conferences, workshops, and other special events; and best of all, our special needs students will be setting up, tearing down, and cleaning the facilities. They will get built-in event prep and cleaning experience. Please consider supporting our special needs students by hosting your next event with us. For more information on the Event Center, its reception hall, kitchen, and large event space, call Sara’s Garden’s Administrative Assistant Katie Helberg at 419-335-7272 or email katieh@sarasgarden.org.

The most exciting aspect of this facility is the fully functional Special Grounds Coffee Shop, staffed by many of our special needs high school students. The coffee and pastry shop should open this fall. Our plan is to source fair trade coffee beans and roast our own delicious blends of coffee in-house, providing amazing vocational opportunities for our students. This fall, please stop in and support our special needs students and get a great cup of coffee or if you are in a hurry, use our drive-up window for your caffeine fix. All proceeds will be used to support special education services through New Horizons Academy and Sara’s Garden. Please keep an eye out for our fall Special Grounds Coffee Shop Grand Opening invitation and announcement. We look forward to seeing you and serving you there!