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Local coffee roaster creates nonprofit for special needs adults

Compadres Coffee Roasters, the company which provides the coffee for The Brew at Oklahoma Christian University, is developing a nonprofit for special needs adults called Not Your Average Joe.

Freshman Isa Woodson, who started as an intern for Compadres last semester, said Tim Herbel founded the coffee roasting company, which supplies blends for the Brew, Hank’s Coffee and churches around the area. Herbel created three types of coffee, all sold in different places. One is Not Your Average Joe, originally created for the profits to go to special needs adults.

According to Woodson, Herbel decided to create a nonprofit based on Not Your Average Joe coffee, allowing special needs adults to volunteer or have jobs in the coffee roaster. At the beginning of January 2019, however, Woodson said they had an entire coffee house donated to them. Hank’s Coffee in the midtown district of downtown Oklahoma City will become Not Your Average Joe, the foundation of Herbel’s nonprofit.

“Not Your Average Joe is a nonprofit where we are going to provide special needs adults with jobs, whether that is in the roaster—we’ll teach them how to roast coffee properly, how to measure it, how to weigh it—or they’ll be working in the coffee shop itself at Not Your Average Joe,” Woodson said.

According to their website, Compadres is all about creating community and sharing in the story of every cup of coffee. Not Your Average Joe is dedicated to spreading this to the special needs community, with the tagline “We serve exceptional coffee, but even better people.”

“We believe coffee cultivates a certain community, and we believe everyone deserves a seat at that table,” Woodson said. “Our goal is to raise awareness for the fact that they are people, too, and they deserve just as much opportunity as anyone else.”

Woodson said Not Your Average Joe is working to partner with Wings, doing events with them and catering coffee and scones in return for advertisements, promotions and coordinating the special needs volunteers. Not Your Average Joe will also be a place where people from Wings can go and serve at one of their locations.

“Wings was created to enhance the lives of adults with developmental disabilities by providing job training and post-high school educational opportunities,” the Wings website said. “We are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for each participant and helping them reach his/her full potential by providing opportunities to participate in experiences that help them grow physically, spiritually, cognitively, socially and emotionally.”

Hank’s Coffee’s rebranding to Not Your Average Joe will launch Saturday, April 20, at the Midtown Walkabout. Woodson said they will be open all day and dedicated to promoting the new brand, featuring a new menu and staff.

“Hopefully some special needs volunteers will be in there as well,” Woodson said. “We’re trying to say this is what Not Your Average Joe is going to look like, and we’re excited to present everything to the community.”

While the Not Your Average Joe coffee shop will run as a store for a while, Woodson said all of the profits from the Not Your Average Joe coffee blend will go toward the nonprofit. Those proceeds will eventually fund housing for special needs adults to live somewhat independently, which is why they want to partner with Wings, who does something similar.

“If you’ve ever been to Wings, you walk in there, and everyone greets you with the biggest smile on their face,” Woodson said. “Everyone loves each other so much, and they have such a tight-knit community. That is the love we want to keep spreading, and it’s one of the reasons we want to partner with them.”

Woodson said she is working on social media and marketing for Not Your Average Joe. One of her projects is creating a video to spread a positive message about the special needs community.

“I had this idea of creating a video where I would ask people what their experiences were with special needs adults,” Woodson said. “I would ask, ‘If you could describe it in one word, what would you tell me?’ Or, ‘Summarize your experience; how has it affected you?’ The video would essentially say, we want to love on people like Jesus. This is what the special needs community looks like, and we believe they deserve a seat the table just as much as you all do.”

According to Woodson, the video will also emphasize how at Not Your Average Joe, customers are being served by excellent people who love unconditionally.

“Most people, if you ask them if they’ve had an experience with someone with special needs, they’re going to get really excited,” Woodson said. “For me, I was in choir with these two girls with Down syndrome, and they were my best buds. We would dance together during all of the songs. And that is one of my best memories of high school, but also of special needs adults.”

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