Katie Kishore and Amy Julia stand in Kindness Cafe with their arms around each other and smile at the camera

Visiting Kindness

So here’s a beautiful model of how to create a space that benefits an entire community.

I got to visit my friend Katie Kishore in Charlottesville last week and see Kindness Cafe in person. Katie has dreamed of and worked towards creating a space for employment for adults with disabilities as well as a space of welcome for all. That dream has become a reality.

Kindness is housed within a local YMCA, so when workers finish their shift, many of them go to the gym. Seventeen adults with disabilities are employed there, and at least one of them has also secured employment with the Y. Typically-developing adults serve as managers, including two local students from UVA. I can only imagine how it might have shaped (and reshaped) my college experience to work alongside other young adults with intellectual disabilities.

Kindness was bright and cheerful and welcoming and I ate a delicious blueberry lemon square. And I left with just a little bit more hope that this new frontier of integrating people with disabilities into everyday life is not only possible but also desirable. Thank you, Kindness, for showing us what beauty and goodness looks like in action.


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