Will's Place received a $5,000 grant from the SBB Research Group Foundation, which awards monthly grants to support impactful organizations.
Will's Place is a nonprofit organization that plans to open a Skokie-based café in Spring 2023. Founders Joan Hallagan and Cathy Maassen's goals are to provide a positive, safe, and inclusive work environment for adults with developmental challenges and offer quality menu items.
"Maybe we don't all fit in the same place, but there should also be a place for us to go," said Joan Hallagan. "Every community should have a program like this; it is not just the kids that will benefit. People coming in and seeing a different type of employee is still a good thing. It might take a little more patience or a little bit more kindness, but it will be a good learning experience for everyone in our community."
The café will teach their employees various food service-related skills with the help of volunteers and teachers. They also plan to use the café as a place for people to build new friendships and socialize with the community. The organization will use the SBB Research Group Foundation grant to help fund their 2,000 sq. ft commercial kitchen at the café.
"Will's Place offers more than just employment. They provide a supportive community and a sense of belonging to people in our community," said Matt Aven, co-founder, and board member of the SBB Research Group Foundation.
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