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Coffee program at Bloomfield High will give students a chance to learn life & work skills

Sam Ribakoff
Farmington Daily Times
Bloomfield School District Superintendent Kim Mizell speaks at the district's School Board Workshop at the district's office in Bloomfield on Jan. 13, 2020.

BLOOMFIELD — A small group of students with special needs at Bloomfield High School will get the opportunity to earn a little cash and learn both life and work skills by selling coffee to teachers and staff members once a week starting in February. 

With funds provided by New Mexico's Central Region Educational Cooperative and the New Mexico Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, five students who are at least 16 years old will earn $9 an hour working two hours a week.

They will serve coffee and pastries to teachers on Wednesday mornings during the school's late start days. The program runs until April.

The products the students will sell will be provided by Rise 'N Grind Coffee Shop in Bloomfield, which will deliver the food and drinks to the students.  

Northwest Regional Education Cooperative Vocational Transitional Specialist Karen Georgina helped create the program with Bloomfield High teacher Sara Evans.

Georgina said she hopes that the program will not only provide students with valuable life and work skills, but that it will also give them a chance to connect with the community, and for the community to connect with students.

"We always try to make it a win-win for the students, the community and the schools," Georgina said, "and we also want to educate [people] that students with disabilities have skills to share with their communities."

Evans said she is excited for her students to practice and learn "meaningful job skills, communication skills, social skills, and that's going to be really good for them, and it's a fun job, everyone wants to be a barista."

Though students will not be able to sell coffee to students, Evans hopes to expand the program in the future so that it can involve more of her students — who she refers to as "her crew" — more of Bloomfield High School and more of the wider Bloomfield community. 

Students will start serving coffee to school staff for $2.50 per 12 ounce cup on the morning of Feb. 24.     

Sam Ribakoff is a visual journalist for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621 or via email at sribakoff@daily-times.com.

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Vocational Transitional Specialist at the Northwest Regional Educational Cooperative Karen Georgina speaks at Bloomfield School District's School Board meeting at the district's office in Bloomfield on Jan. 13, 2020.