- Positive Vibe Café: Cultivating Culinary Trainees with Disabilities
- The Laurie Mitchell Employment Center: Assisting People with Mental Illness in Obtaining Employment
Positive Vibe Café: Cultivating Culinary Trainees with Disabilities
On October 24, the Positive Vibe Café, Richmond, Va., was honored with one of six of the Secretary of Labor’s 2007 New Freedom Initiative Awards. The café’s founder and owner, Garth Larcen, accepted the award. To ensure employment opportunities for his son Max, who has muscular dystrophy, and other people with disabilities, Larcen opened this nonprofit training restaurant. The kitchen and serving floor are totally accessible. Area chefs contributed original recipes and helped design a menu that would attract a varied clientele. Both basic and advanced training courses are offered. To date, more than 150 people with cognitive or physical disabilities have been trained and/or employed at the café and other food establishments throughout the Richmond area. In addition to funding, community support is evidence in the volume of repeat customers and accolades from food critics.
The Laurie Mitchell Employment Center: Assisting People with Mental Illness in Obtaining Employment
On October 24, the Laurie Mitchell Employment Center, Alexandria, Va., was honored with one of six of the Secretary of Labor’s 2007 New Freedom Initiative Awards. Raymond L. Bridge, founder of the center, accepted the award. The Laurie Mitchell Employment Center assists people with mental illness and other disabilities in obtaining and maintaining meaningful and gainful employment. Operated as a nonprofit drop-in center, it provides employment assistance, computer training and peer support. To date, the center has served nearly 2,500 people, placing hundreds in competitive employment.