PEORIA, Il - The Spot Coffee Shop in Peoria took some time Thursday , to celebrate an employee with down syndrome. The coffee shop's owner decided to spend this day commending the work, Kylie Valerin does there. Several other's also decided to stop by today to support them.
Kylie has been working at the coffee shop for the the past two years.
"Kylie's grown so much in the two years she's been with us. At first she had a hard time engaging in conversation with some of our customers but now she feels a lot more comfortable and even will joke a little bit with some of our customers and she's really good at her job," said Sara, coffee shop owner.
Kylie and her co-workers have developed a special bond.
"I've been happy and I like working with my friends. I love making drinks...And spend time with my friends who work here," said Kylie.
During Thursday's Down Syndrome Awareness event, the parents of Quinn, a three year old boy with down syndrome supported the cause by donating free drinks to customers.
"He's just changed our family for the better in so many ways and we all love them. The whole family loves him and everyone he meets just loves him," said Renee Hayes.
To make this day even more special, employees wore custom made t-shirts. The designer said this was a special project.
"I think it's always cool to see the designs that I make out in the world but it's specially touching when it's such an important cause and seeing the people in the coffee shop today that are affected by down syndrome and their excitement and their passion," Chelsie Tamms, Lettering Works owner.
Sara hopes this day of awareness promotes inclusion.
"I really encourage people to come to understand that they have so many abilities. So many times we talk about the disabilities. I think raising awareness really just needs to focus on all the abilities that these people have just like you and me," said Sara.
Sara actually used to be a special education teacher. When she opened up her business, she made it her goal to employ people with disabilities.
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