Why Friendship Cafe

Young adults with disabilities face a daunting challenge when they enter their working-stage. That’s because federally mandated services in many cases simply stop. So, in addition to losing out on programs, they also lose chances to just hang with friends. According to the US Department of Labor, approximately 8 in 10 persons with disabilities were not in the labor force in 2018 as compared to 3 in 10 of those with no disability. The barrier keeping people with disabilities from the workplace is attitudinal, hindered by low expectations for people with disabilities. Most special need adults have little prospect of meaningful employment and therefore the ability to build social skills needed for the workforce. Some individuals are relegated into “disability-only” workshops, or into jobs that do not pay a minimum wage, creating an environment with little expectation of meaningful competitive employment. At Friendship Cafe we show the world that we need to get rid of our stereotypical images and view each individual as just that, an individual.

The Friendship Cafe is a unique cafe serving top quality food and at the same time meeting the needs of special needs adults in the South Florida area. The Friendship Cafe is an extension of The Friendship Circle of Fort Lauderdale, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. The Cafe is our training and workplace setting for adults from The Friendship Circle.

The Friendship Cafe focuses on ABILITIES, not disabilities. We are a safe, secure and nurturing environment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our aim is to encourage and convert unique abilities into meaningful job skills, fostering friendships, and a sense of belonging. Our Friendship employees develop a sense of pride that comes from contributing to their own support.

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