Ada’s Cafe Wednesday 1/9/13

The non-profit organization, Ada’s Cafe, employs individuals with disabilities in an effort to overcome the astounding rate of unemployment disabled adults, at 80%. Numerous disabled adults are unable to live independently and implement life skills. Through important work, Ada’s Cafe provides opportunities to some of these adults. We travelled to Ada’s Cafe in Palo Alto to meet with the fantastic employees and learn about what the organization offers to the community as well as their impact on disabled adults’ lives. After interviewing the disabled employees, we learned about similar interests between us and later we found out about how they give back to the community, even while facing major setbacks. We made smoothies and paninis together and the employees showed us how their work in the cafe helped the community. Castilleja students’ work with Ada’s Cafe supported the organization in addition to us learning about the importance of providing jobs to disabled adults and how they give back to the community. Our worker Linda had boundless energy and smiled a lot. She told the story of her damaged arm to whoever would listen. We learned that this was a room of unstoppable people. Some of their handicaps could at first glance be perceived as debilitating, but from what we gathered from our conversation with Linda, her developmental disability didn’t get in her way. It came as a surprise to us that even though Linda couldn’t write, this didn’t hinder her ability to work at all. Linda herself takes the train to Mountain View, reads and watches crime thrillers, and visits her sister. She goes out to walk her dogs and she calls herself a “country girl” with pride, being raised in Kansas. Both she and Paris love peanut butter cookies. She has a personality totally unlike anyone else there. Linda is very happy at Ada’s, if her boundless enthusiasm for cooking is anything to go by.


Castilleja students making smoothies with employees from Ada’s Cafe

Castilleja students talking with employees from Ada’s Cafe


Ada’s cafe looks forward to opening the doors this spring of their retail cafe that will be located in the Mitchell Park community centre. Their goal is to continue growing their catering business and to hire more associates. They hope to train the associates more and create opportunities for them to work more hours, thus enabling them to make more money and become more financially stable and self-sufficient. They also want to bring in more teens and college students for job partnering in hopes of fostering more understanding among them. They are very excited about the idea of Castilleja students being involved in this organization in their own community. They offer volunteer internships and hours on weekends, breaks, and in the summer, all times that are more convenient for busy students. They are excited about the prospect of hiring students either as volunteers or as paid employees, and are happy to write letters of recommendations for college applications. Overall, Ada’s Cafe strives to create a comfortable environment for adults with disabilities. They want to integrate work with people with and without disabilities, as well as create job opportunities for adults with disabilities.  The work one does is one of the most important ways a person defines themselves, which is why providing jobs for unemployed and disabled people gives them a sense of accomplishment and purpose. The internships and volunteer opportunities Ada’s Cafe offers also serve as a powerful experience in young adults’ lives. It teaches them a variety of skills key to later success in the workfield.

Here is a gallery of photos from the experience, taken by Ann Barry Photography:

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Showing 8 comments
  • Kathleen Foley-Hughes

    Thank you so much for the great write-up about Ada’s after your visit with us during Global Week.

    We were thrilled to meet all of you and look forward to having more Castilleja students get involved with Ada’s when we open in the spring.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful and well-written review!

    Best wishes to all of you for the semester ahead!


  • Meg

    This sounds like it was a lot of fun!

  • Laurel

    I can’t wait to visit their upcoming storefront!!!!

  • Colby

    so jealous of the yummy good you got to eat!

  • Mimi and Megan

    This sounds like a fun and yummy trip!

  • Claire G.

    This looks like so much fun and the smoothies look amazing!

  • Karly

    This sounds like a very fun and enlightening experience!

  • Grace and Karina

    yummy 🙂

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