Gabi is my 22-year-old daughter and an active, motivated adult with Down Syndrome. When she wanted to find a job, she searched and applied for many positions but could not get hired. She has big dreams and wants to be a productive member of society as well as to be active in the workplace. There are many, many others like her, with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently, 82.5% of IDD individuals of all ages are unemployed. We launched Gabi’s Grounds Coffee Shop in 2017 to give her and others the opportunity to be productive, responsible employees.
We are not just telling people they should hire people with disabilities; we are doing it! We are leading by example. We have just secured warehouse space in Raleigh and are searching for a suitable location for a storefront for the coffee house.
Gabi had always dreamed of owning a restaurant and has always wanted to do something meaningful to help other people. When we discussed the idea of opening a coffee shop, her immediate response was “Let’s do it.”
Gabi’s Grounds is an advocate for the value, inclusion, and acceptance of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are dedicated to making the world a better place for individuals with IDD by providing work and a living wage. Gabi is on the board of directors and is in charge of creating all of the coffee flavors with a specialized tea soon to join our items for sale. Additionally, she works at pop-up shops 3-4 times per week, delivers coffee to customers and businesses, and speaks at conferences around the country encouraging others with IDD that they, too, can start a business.
As a result of the launch and continued work of Gabi’s Grounds, Gabi herself has blossomed into a creative, confident, woman who goes around the country inspiring others with IDD. She was honored with the 2019 Self-Advocate of the Year Award by the Triangle Down Syndrome Network.
Others whose lives have been changed include Shane, Jon, Steven, who volunteer all the time at our pop-ups. They talk about Gabi’s shop opening so they can have a real job
Gabi’s Grounds has received significant exposure and support from local and national media, including a recent appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show.
Our success will be measured in the number of individuals with IDD we are able to hire and in their level of increased self-fulfillment in having a meaningful job. As we grow, our success will also be measured in the ability to open additional locations and hire additional team members.
We also see a need to increase awareness about Down Syndrome, especially in regard to the employability of people with Down Syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. Exposure through a permanent location for the coffee shop will help to improve others’ understanding of the abilities of people with IDD.
We are ready for bigger and better things - and need your help to do them all! We empower individuals with special abilities, one cup at a time. Please join our mission and check out our website. Thank you for your support!
1053 E. Whitaker Mill Road, Suite 115
Raleigh, NC 27604
Phone: (919) 274-1449