FOLEY, Ala. (WKRG) — There is a relatively new coffee shop in Foley with long lines for a cup of something that rivals the big boys in the coffee business.
“It’s really good, actually,” says Foley High School Principal Jessica Webb. “The hot chocolate with caramel.”
Workers behind the counter are students with disabilities at Foley High School. Misty Balster is their teacher.
“Our classroom is called the Magnolia Room and they are all just really sweet kids,” she said.
That is how the coffee shop in the school library got its name, Sweet Magnolia.
And, Balster says, it’s changing lives.
“They are learning how to work with others and follow directions as far as social skills; it’s beyond amazing.”
She says non-verbal students are now opening up. Some of her students are even moving into general classes.
“I’ve seen a sense of pride and confidence in my Magnolia Room kids,” says Webb. “You can see it … when they are working, it’s something they take pride in and it gives them a great interaction with the rest of our students that come in and really enjoy it as well.”
This is a cup of coffee and a purpose.
“It’s just this domino effect of kindness that has spread out,” says Balster.
And it’s opening up a whole new world, and making a huge difference, for students on both sides of the counter.