Compassion Cafe

Location: New Jersey

Date Founded: 2020

Contact Name: Sue Sharkley



9dc Give Amount: $830

Give Update!

Please watch the thank you video from Compassion Cafe below!

January 30, 2022

Started in 2021, the Compassion Cafe is a fully working coffee shop and cafe on Long Beach Island, NJ. It is dedicated to providing meaningful employment and job training for adolescents and adults with disabilities. Jim Warren, one of our 9dollarclub members, has seen firsthand the wonderful experience for both the enthusiastic staff and customers.

Sue Sharkey is the co-founder of Compassion Cafe and has spent her whole life along the Jersey shore. She grew up in a small coastal town called Beach Haven, NJ and a few years ago, she retired from a local high school where she worked as a health and physical education teacher for more than 30 years. Her Compassion Cafe co-founder and niece, Erin Sharkey has also worked with children and adults with special needs since 2009. Together they recognized that while in school, there are solid support programs for kids with disabilities but after finishing high school, these same young adults would no longer have access to important services and social opportunities.

They came up with an idea to to start a morning program that would hire, train and pay staff members with disabilities to serve coffee and other treats to the local community. They began reaching out to area businesses and immediately found that the community would be very supportive of the idea and the Compassion Cafe was born.

What Did We Give?

Sue told us that the meaningful employment positions is giving 60 people with disabilities a real opportunity to gain work experience. But perhaps even more importantly, the Cafe is also creating very meaningful social connections with each other and to the community as well.

As a prime example of this, many of the staff members love to sing, dance, and cheer each other on during what has become the “entertainment hour.” They currently have a small speaker and microphone setup that is intended to let everyone take turns singing and doing karaoke style performances. Sue told us that everyone really enjoys it, but unfortunately the quality of the current set-up is not good with low volume and muffled results.

We can fix that problem!

Thanks to your donation this month, you are helping to purchase a brand new Bose speaker/sound system and higher quality microphone that will allow everyone to sing and dance to the music and continue spreading joy and having fun, while spending time with each other and their customers!

Sue told us that everyone will be very excited about the upgrade for this coming season and we can’t wait to see pictures of the staff doing their thing. Better yet, if you happen to visit the Jersey shore this coming summer, definitely stop by the Compassion Cafe to be a part of the fun!

Click here to learn more and watch a special video from Sue Sharkey, the founder of the Compassion Cafe.

"9dollarclub" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in Virginia, United States