BeanZ: A Place Where Everyone Belongs
By Scott Masson
A Place Where Everyone Belongs: This is the motto of BeanZ & Co., an inclusive cafe that employs young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This small business has captured the hearts and minds of many people throughout the Farmington Valley in its first seven successful months.
BeanZ was established in December 2018 by Kim Morrison and Noelle Alix in the New England Pasta Company on Route 44 in Avon. New England Pasta, in turn, was founded in 1994 by Kim and Scott Morrison. Kim and Noelle were inspired to open BeanZ because of their daughters, Megan Morrison and Cate Alix, who both have Down Syndrome.
The cafe has 18 employees evenly divided between staff members without disabilities and those with disabilities. The cafe is an inclusive place where customers can eat breakfast and lunch. The countertop at BeanZ is lowered for those with disabilities. The cash register has a simple system for everyone to use, including those who may need help making change.
Kim and Noelle talked about their slogan, with another friend one night, and they came up with. “Everyone Belongs.”
BeanZ is a welcoming cafe. As soon as customers walk in they are greeted with happy employees.
TV news stations such as Fox61, NBC 30 and WTNH have been coming to check out BeanZ. The owner, Kim, is hopeful BeanZ will be even more successful as a result of the media attention. BeanZ has already changed the public's opinion on people with IDD.
The staff at BeanZ have become a family, helping each other out if they need help. The employees at the cafe with IDD include Lauren Traceski, Jessica Sahlman and Nick Sinacori, all members of Favarh – The Arc of the Farmington Valley. Lauren’s primary job at BeanZ is to serve customers their food and cleans tables and sometimes to operate the register. Jessica buses the tables and Nick runs the register. The BeanZ crew from Favarh has a job coach named Yojaria Evans.
“It’s a great experience working at BeanZ,” said Lauren. “And it feels good to get a paycheck.”
“It’s awesome to work at BeanZ,” added Nick.
He noted that when he goes to bed at night he can’t wait to get up and get back to work with a smile on his face.
The Dangers of Plastic-Foam Containers
By Scott Masson
Plastic-foam containers have been around for many years. We use them to store our food and restaurants and catering businesses all around the world use them so customers can carry their leftovers home. But these containers are made with chemicals like styrene; chemicals linked to cancer.
Because our foods are exposed to the chemicals in plastic-foam, there can be a devastating effect on our nervous systems, memory and concentration, vision and hearing. But it’s not just we humans who are threatened by plastic foam. The environment is also threatened when plastic foam is disposed of at landfills or tossed in the sea, endangering land animals as well as fish and sea mammals.
Plastic foam pollutes our oceans. Many people just don’t realize how harmful plastic-foam containers and plastic bags are to the ocean. But they aren’t the only plastic articles that are harmful to the oceans: so are plastic straws. Estimates are that plastic-foam containers, plastic bags and straws could take as long as a million years to decompose.
We humans must become more aware of these hazards to our environment, especially the impact on our beloved animals. The fewer plastic bags and plastic-foam containers we use, the better off the environment will be.
I’m all for banning plastic-foam containers and plastic bags. Who’s with me? We need to protect our environment not harm it. So the next time you’re eating out or just picking up something from the grocery store think about what you’re using and stop yourself from doing it. Do the right thing and don’t use these harmful products!!!!
Let’s Save Earth, our Home !!!!