Café in Camden gives high school students with special needs life lessons

David Madden
December 19, 2018 - 12:12 pm
At Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, a classroom in the basement has been converted into the Tiger Café.

David Madden/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) -- At Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, a classroom in the basement has been converted into what’s called the Tiger Café. It’s more than just an easy way to get a cup of coffee and a donut.

Special education teacher Thomas Levy came up with the idea, and 11 students are taking part.

"These are kids that are in a life skills class that they’re learning adaptive and functional skills, so that they can live more independent lives outside high school,” Levy said. “So the goal here is to be able to get them a job.”

In this case, he means in the food service trade, although one senior says her ultimate goal is to be a nurse. The project is part of the school’s business and entrepreneurship program.

Levy raised some $10,000 to get this café up and running, and he is looking to get another $100,000 to make it permanent.

Speaking about his students, he said, "When they leave here, we want them to actually go out and have a job somewhere. Not just in the café. The skills they’re learning, they can work pretty much anywhere, anywhere customer service. Retail. Anywhere.”