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Sleepy Coffee, Too Supports the Community in Sleepy Hollow

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Kim Kaczmarek, a retired special education teacher, is opening a coffee shop run by former students with developmental disabilities.

Calling all coffee lovers! Sleepy Coffee, Too is a nonprofit café and bakery expected to open its doors this fall at 110 Beekman Ave in Sleepy Hollow.

After 35 years of teaching at Sleepy Hollow High School, Kaczmarek retired and decided to take the next steps in her journey. As she watched her students graduate from high school, she noticed that most of them weren’t given the opportunity to pursue a meaningful job or training. “There is an 80% unemployment rate for people with disabilities,” Kaczmarek notes.

The mission of Sleepy Coffee, Too is to create an inclusive work environment that provides meaningful training and employment for people with disabilities. In addition, this is a space where all employees will feel respected and valued both in the shop and within the community.

Sleepy Coffee, Too employees and founder Kim Kaczmarek. Photo courtesy of Sleepy Coffee, Too.

The business began in 2016 within the halls of Sleepy Hollow High School when Kaczmarek created the coffee business to help her students strengthen their social and workplace skills. One student came up with the name Sleepy Coffee, and it stuck. Another club in the school received a grant and used the grant money to build Sleepy Coffee a cart to hold its goodies. The cart held coffee and homemade brownies, which sold out within five minutes.

Kaczmarek describes her future employees as the most reliable group of people who are full of excitement. When she reached out to former students to relay the good news about the shop, they were ecstatic. Many of them swiftly filled out applications and made their way over for their interviews.

“They arrived to their interviews super early and all dressed up,” says Kaczmarek, smiling at the memory of her former students.

People with disabilities already struggle with feeling isolated, and the pandemic amplified that feeling, with many people losing their jobs and incomes. Kaczmarek set up weekly Zoom calls with her students to keep the communication flowing about both the business and everyday life.

As Kaczmarek’s enthusiasm for the project makes clear, Sleepy Coffee, Too isn’t just your average cup of joe coffee shop; this is a coffee shop with purpose. Kaczmarek hopes that other businesses follow suit and realize that people with disabilities can offer meaningful contributions to the business community in Westchester and beyond.

Interested individuals can donate to Sleepy Coffee, Too’s GoFundMe page here.

Related: A Westchester Children’s Book Is Blowing up on Kickstarter

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