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NYC's Café Joyeux on Mission to Give People With Disabilities a Place to Work with Joy

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A New York City cafe has made it their mission to serve hope and purpose with every cup of coffee.

Café Joyeux, located in Manhattan, is a nonprofit staffed by employees with autism and Down syndrome.

The European-style shop says it's not about profits, but inclusion. 
"I got jobs, but barely getting paid or didn't get paid which is a problem in the disabled community," Rachel Barcellona, an employee at Café Joyeux, told ABC 7. "We get hired, but no one pays us because they think we aren't worthy or are a burden."

Currently, more than eight million people nationwide have intellectual or developmental disabilities and about 80% of them are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Café Joyeux, which means "happy" in French, was started in France in 2017 to help solve the problem. To date, more than 250 people with disabilities are employed through the cafe.

The New York City location opened last month and co-owner, Yann Bucaille, says his goal is to close the employment gap.

"This is more than a symbol. It's a victory for inclusion," Bucaille told CBS News


"I come to work trying to prove myself to them instead of them instead of them proving themselves to me," said Shray Campbell, the general manager of the NYC cafe. "For me, it's like I'm always like trying to set them goals. Like, okay, what do you want to learn next? What do you want to do next? And after this job, where do you want to go?"

"You can choose any coffee shop or choose any lunch place," said one customer, Margot Wilensky. "But here it really supports people that want to be a part of a community."

Everything sold in Café Joyeux contributes to its mission of helping people with special needs find employment.

"I'm really good at making lattes hot and cold, and I love drinking them too," said Barcellona. "People who have autism are capable of anything. We want to work. We want to show that we are amazing."

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.