Archive for September 2015

Cheerful Persistence

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Last night I had the opportunity to listen to a famous speaker. Whatever side of the political aisle you fall on, when you have the opportunity to listen to someone who has been a part of history you should not pass that up. So I was all ears.

I was invited to hear Newt Gingrich speak. For my Democratic friends, before you boo and hiss, let me tell you this speech was less about politics, and more about inspiration and motivation. There was so much he said, however, one thing he said every single person can learn from. It is something I plan to be a cornerstone of Dreamers Coffee House for years to come. I can't remember his exact words as to how he lead up to this statement, but it went something like this, as you work on whatever it is you are working on, do it with "cheerful persistence." 

Cheerful persistence. 

Those words jumped out at me. For the last ten years, I have shared the message of the dignity for all. It has been an easy message to share, because I believe it so much. I have had opposition to my message along the way, and I can say with all honesty, I have preservered. I have felt joyful, even in the struggles, because I know that dignity for all is a message that is right and good. 

Cheerful persistence. 

To all of my Dreamers out there, there may be bumps in the road ahead for you. There may be days you are given opposition. 

On those days I will be there to help you through it, and cheer you on. You will hear me remind you all to have "cheerful persistence." 

The joy you are feeling today, because of the possibilities this dream could bring your family should be reflected in the good times, and in the hard times of your business journey. Remember the words "cheerful persistence." 

I truly believe with all my heart that for the last ten years I have had "cheerful persistence." 

Dreamers you should too!

Launch Date For New Dreamers Web Site Set!

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We have officially set a date for the launch of the new and improved Dreamers Online Stores website! 

Drum roll please! 

Our first 7 store owners will launch their stores on October 5, 2015! We could not be more excited! 

Let the countdown to the dreams begin! 15 more days till the launch! 

Dignity... It is really that simple.

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Building Dreamers Coffee House has lead me to reflect a lot about what brought me to this point in my journey, where it all started, and how I got here. I have had a lot of time to reminisce about the last ten years.

The message I have been sharing the last 10 years is a very uncomplicated message. Quite simply the word dignity sums up all I have been trying to say all these years.

Right there it is,  "The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect."

When I founded the Grand Strand Down Syndrome Society I was seeking dignity for parents who were new to the Down syndrome community and needed support.

I was seeking dignity for the mother and father when they receive a diagnosis for their child, at birth or in utero. I wanted a place that would give them the tools and support to navigate their new journey. Give them the love and respect they need, along with support for the whole family. They are worthy of respect. They are worthy of dignity.

When I started the IDSC, again, all I was asking for was dignity.

Dignity for the child who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, or any other disability. Every child deserves dignity. My daughter deserves the same dignity as any other human. She is worthy of respect. Not because she is the daughter of someone who started a movement or an organization. Her dignity stands on its own. She and her peers are worthy of dignity.

My message about not using the R word, is also about dignity. Every person who has been given the label of intellectually or developmentally disabled is worthy of respect that the title of dignity gives each and every human being. Throwing the r-word around lowers their dignity, and lowers the dignity of others.

And now, the dignity of the worker. Every person innately gains dignity through work. Employment brings all of us pride and satisfaction. According to the National Down Syndrome Congress, 20% of individuals who have an intellectual or developmental disability are gainfully employed. That number is too low for me. I hope that by the time  MaryEllen seeks employment we have shifted that number to reflect the same percentage as the general population. She is worthy of the dignity that being gainfully employed brings us all.

It really has been a very simple message all of these years.

Dignity for all, because,  indeed, every person deserves it.

Dreamers Coffee House Update! FAQ's You asked, I am answering!

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I am breathing in all things Dreamers. It is getting really exciting.

Though I am excited, I have to be honest. I am scared and excited at the same time.

Why am I scared? I believe in what I am doing. I believe in the mission to employ individuals of all abilities.

However, having a dream, and actually realizing that dream, are two different things.

So far, a LOT of people want to sell Dreamers coffee. This is a good thing. And a scary thing, all at once.

Setting all of that up is a leap of faith. We are working hard behind the scenes to make this happen. It is taking many hours to make the small task of letting a lot of people help us share the mission of Dreamers Coffee House, and help them become strong business owners in their own right.

So the update for now is this:
My incredible genius web designer is working day and night on getting the website set up so we can plan a launch! I am in meetings almost every day, with many many people, working hard to make this dream a reality. We are working very hard behind the scenes. Thank you for all of you who are reaching out to us, and inspiring us to keep working hard!

On the the FAQ's
The questions I get asked the most:

Are you going to open a brick and mortar? 
Yes. If I have my way, and if the many people who contact me have their way, the brick and mortar Dreamers Coffee House is a reality. I am taking this one step at a time. I have a lot of people offering locations, and offering to open the first Dreamers Coffee House. We are weeding through all of the people who are interested, and taking one big huge gigantic breath. We will walk before we run. And we are grateful so many want to be a part of the dream! But yes, a brick and mortar is the goal.

How can I (the person contacting me) run an online store,  and where can I sell Dreamers Coffee? 
We are building an online store, where anyone, and I mean anyone who believes in the dream, can sign up to run a store of their own, where they will be licensed to sell Dreamers Coffee. Watch closely for our launch date! It is going to be fun, and we are excited! Where can you sell it? You can sell it from your Facebook page, or any other social media you post on. When you sign up to be a licensed store that is selling Dreamers, you will be able to buy our coffee whole sale, and sell it where ever you go.

How/where do I sign up to run my store? 
We will announce our launch date soon! We hope to help a few non profits along they way, as we announce it. Watch our Facebook page for updates!

Will you offer more than coffee? 
We sure will! We are getting contacted by awesome companies, who are already employing individuals of all abilities, asking us if we will offer their product for sale. After we carefully test the product, (yes I plan on becoming a size or two bigger to make sure this product is awesome) we will then add the product to a Dreamers approved  vendor store, for all of our licensed Dreamers to sell.

If I run a store, can I sell Steamers Jam? 
Yes! We are working on the shipping, but yes, we want nothing more than for you to sell Steamers Jam! Every jar you sell, helps us, help Steamers to keep employing individuals of all abilities. And quite frankly their jam is yummy.

How are you managing all of this? 
I am not. lol My house is a mess. I mean a huge mess! I am doing the best I can, and counting on the small miracles each day to take me from one moment to the next. My biggest concern is making sure that my kids have what they need. Most of my kids are raised and on their own. But they still need their mom. And as most know, ME is in school at the most amazing school on earth, so I feel content about that. I do have one more sweet child, who has been more than incredible through all of this, that I have to worry about. So if I don't pick up your call, it is probably because I am taking care of him. He kind of rocks. And I would like to keep it that way!

I think that is enough for now. We are excited about what is to come. Nervous and excited. Taking this one day at a time. We believe in the dream. We will see where this takes us.

How can you sell Dreamers Blend Coffee?

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I am excited to share that we are going to be giving others the opportunity to sell Dreamers Blend Coffee and other products. Our team is in the process of putting on the finishing touches on the new and greatly improved Dreamers website. This site is where all of the new stores selling Dreamers products will be  listed by geographical locations.

If someone is interested in running a store,  they will sign up on the Dreamers website. The launch date will be in approximately three weeks. We will keep updating to let people know the exact launch date. 

Distribution of coffee will happen directly from the coffee roaster. If a store owner wants inventory, that they can distribute themselves, that will be easy to do too! Some who are interested, are getting others involved in their community, each being independent store owners, so they can save on shipping and buy inventory in bulk. So feel free to share within your your local community, and encourage others to sign up to sell Dreamers coffee too! 

We are currently working with seven individuals who are going to be selling Dreamers items in the Memphis area! They are helping us work through the process, so when we launch it publicly it will help us look for any issues others might have! 

If you are an artisan, or you already sell products, you can add these to your own personal online store as well. We want your dreams to be sold too! 

If you are interested in being a part of this great opportunity, start dreaming up your store name, and keep watching here for the big launch of our amazing Dreamers website! 

Anyone is welcome to sign up to have their own online store. If you believe in the mission of hiring individuals of all abilities, and will work toward doing that with your online store, this is the place for you! 

Know this, by selling Dreamers Coffee and Steamers jam, you will be immediately putting individuals of all abilities to work! Dreamers has already brought on 5 individuals who are differently abled, and ready to work selling Dreamers products that are already hiring people of all abilities! Including Steamers who already have many employees of all abilities! So we will be keeping the good people of Steamers working, while reaching our goal of bringing work to owners of our online stores. 

#theBeanThatComesWithTheDream #jobsMatter

The Bean The Dream... The Documentary of Dreamers Coffee House!

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When my friend, Katie Driscoll, came to visit, I could not wait to take her to meet the roaster of the Dreamers Blend  coffee beans, John Pitman. She got the full tour from John, and while she toured she recorded the experience. She also sat down with my husband, John, and I, to ask us about our hopes and dreams for Dreamers Coffee House.

Katie went home, with a better understanding of what we are doing, and why we are doing it. It was so fun to share with her all of the work we are doing to make this happen.

Yesterday, Katie released this incredible video documentary, so the rest of the world can learn more about what we are doing too! I cannot thank her enough for her support and love she has brought to our family. She is not only an incredible talent, she is also an incredible friend.

We hope you enjoy learning more about the dream behind Dreamers Coffee House through this video!

If you are in the Chicago area, you are blessed to have the best photographer in town! Katie is booking sessions right now. Go to her website, 5 Boys + 1 Girl = 6 Photography to contact her! You will be so glad you did!