AUBURN, Ala. — You can bet that every Friday morning from 7:40 to 8:15, there will be a long line in the Auburn High School hallway. The aromas of Colombian, Hazelnut and other types of coffee lingering in the air, along with the sounds of a strumming guitar make you feel as if you’re at a coffee shop.
Welcome to Tiger Mochas.
Since January of this year, Tiger Mochas has been serving up hot coffee to students and faculty each Friday morning. It is a collaborative coffee shop organized by the Future Teachers of America and AHS’ Tiger TRAILS, a program that focuses on special education students between 19 and 21 years old. Students learn job skills and social, independent living and job skills to help them transition into the working world after their time at Auburn High School.
Tiger Mochas is an extension of Tiger TRAILS. For $1 (small) or $1.50 (large), students and faculty can purchase a cup of coffee, with the proceeds going towards students being able to take part in learning opportunities out of the classroom.
Every Thursday, the students come together to get all the materials ready such as the coffee, tables and more. Then, the next morning around 6, the switches are flipped so the coffee can start to brew. From there, it is all business.
“It’s fantastic,” Taylor Farrow said. “It’s a lot of fun. I like meeting new people because they always make me feel good and feel happy and stay positive. That’s all you have to do.”
Tiger TRAILS teacher, Betty Schiffer said that the coffee shop allows students to increase their social skills, build relationships, gain independence and much more. Schiffer said she has seen students take tremendous strides since taking part in the program.
“There are a lot of feelings that we get from this that we really couldn’t imagine,” Schiffer said. “So, it’s really hard to put it into words. Just seeing the student body rally around our students and be supportive and encouraging and just seeing all the individuals come together and support our cause is phenomenal.”
Schiffer said there are plans to get the coffee shop on wheels. She and other special education teachers recognized the need for sustainable employment for those with disabilities after they graduate high school. Thus, the MoCo Coffee Truck by Tiger Mochas was born. The truck is a way for the founders to connect the potential of those with disabilities to their purpose. They hope to have the truck up and running in February of 2018.
A GoFundMe has been created for the MoCo Coffee Truck, you can visit it here.