Local cafe serves java and empowers its workers

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For seven years, the Artistas Cafe has served up specialty coffees inside the Mercedes-Benz of Tampa. A delightful amenity for anyone waiting to get a car serviced.

The helpful baristas are all part of an Autism Shifts program, and they all have autism.

“We’ve had so many students come through the program and really transition into the community, into the work community, which is really what it’s all about. It’s helped these young people become employed, become independent and really be part of the community,” explained Vicky Westra with Autism Shifts.

Soon, the cafe will make a move that gets it even closer to the community. The Artistas Cafe plans to take it to the streets as a mobile cafe.

To thank all those who’ve helped and supported the cafe for the last seven years, they are hosting a week-long event with activities, treats and giveaways at the Mercedes-Benz of Tampa.

The Appreciation Week is November 13 through the 18th at the cafe located at 4400 N. Dale Mabry Highway.

The vision of Autism Shifts is to shift the outcome for those diagnosed with autism. For instance, shifting fear and stigma toward hope and empowerment; shifting unemployment to employed and shifting dependent living to independent lives.

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