Ada’s Café, Program Information
In 2015 Santa Clara County approved a three-year grant to the non-profit restaurant Ada’s Café, a restaurant that is open to the public and creates unique employment opportunities for people with disabilities. To continue its successful momentum, the county again approved funding for 2018.
“Ada’s Café is connecting those in need with stable employment and a regular paycheck, an opportunity which they may not have gotten elsewhere,” says Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “With only a small number of adults with disabilities participating in the workforce, I am delighted to support Ada’s in providing opportunities for work.”
The financial support from the County moves Ada’s toward its goal of self-sufficiency. They employ adults with disabilities in various aspects of the food service industry and pay them above minimum wage. Employees are trained in areas such as food preparation, customer service, and other professional skills.
Ada’s believes that a disability shouldn’t stand in the way of working in a professional setting and hopes to erase the stigma around interacting with disabled people.
Ada’s Cafe’s founder, Kathleen Foley-Hughes, states, “I started Ada’s because I saw the need in my own life with my son, Charlie, and how challenging it was for us to fund meaningful employment for someone with special needs. Our belief is that people want to do the right things but don’t have an opportunity to work with or have any contact with someone with a disability. Ada’s provides that opportunity to break down stereotypes while serving delicious food and drinks.”
Parents Mary Lynn and Bill Teter talk about the unique contribution that employment provided to their son who participated in the program: “Merely participating in an activity simply cannot compare with his feelings of self-esteem, of accomplishment and personal validation associated with actually holding a paying job—a job which has real responsibilities. He instinctively knows when he is truly being entrusted to do meaningful work.”