Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, a shop on Fairfax Boulevard, received the Spirit of Virginia award from first lady Suzanne Youngkin and Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
Cameron’s is a business enterprise of the nonprofit Every1 Can Work, which gives young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities employment opportunities in a supporting environment, with the aim of inspiring independence.
The shop opened October 1, 2013, with three workers with intellectual disabilities; it now has 23 such workers, who work alongside volunteers and culinary specialists.
“We laud this remarkable nonprofit that transforms the lives of Virginians with cognitive disabilities by providing a job that is much more than a paycheck; it is purpose in life,” said Suzanne Youngkin in a statement. The first couple visited the shop last Thursday.
Ellen Graham, the co-founder of Every1 Can Work, added, “At Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, we are telling Virginia, the U.S. and the world that individuals with intellectual disabilities are capable of being productive members of society when given the right opportunities and supports.”
The Spirit of Virginia Award “recognizes unique qualities and standout achievements across the Commonwealth and salutes Virginians for their uncommon contributions in private industries, education, culture, the arts and philanthropy,” Gov. Youngkin’s office said in the statement.
Six such awards are given out each year; at the end of the year, recipients will be honored at a holiday reception at the Governor’s Mansion.
Every1 Can Work says more than 84 percent of young adults with cognitive disabilities are “unemployed, but not unemployable.” It adds, “This most vulnerable segment of our society is often the last hired and the first fired at businesses driven solely by profit.”
Feature image courtesy Gov. Youngkin’s office/Shealah Craighead Photography
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