ja va jo y!
Special photos of ESP Joyristas
Redefining Barista: Special Joy with Every Cup of Java
w WHEN MOST COFFEE DRINKERS enjoy their first cup of java, they are looking for a boost to start their day. At Java Joy, coffee lovers receive much more than a jolt of caffeine – pure joy finds its way into every drop. Java Joy, run by Watkinsville-based nonprofit Extra Special People, aims to spread joy and java one cup at a time across Athens and Oconee. And their business is booming. Serving a specialty Jittery Joe’s blend of local coffee, baked goods, and iced coffee popsicles, Java Joy is a mobile coffee cart
operation that employs young adults with special needs. Traveling to events and local businesses, Java Joy has been eagerly welcomed into the community, growing from one small stand to a two-cart, two-van operation in less than a year. Several businesses host Java Joy each week at the request of employees who love having their morning cup of joe served with an authentic, heartwarming smile. “Our employees love to start their day with a good cup of coffee,” said David Kernall, owner
and general manager of Bulldog Kia car dealership, one of Java Joy’s regular customers. “But what they love more are the smiles and enthusiasm from the Joyristas – it’s contagious.” Watching the interactions between Java Joy employees and the community, ESP Executive Director Laura Whitaker quickly realized that the word “barista” didn’t fully describe the role of those serving coffee from behind the cart or inside the van. As a result, ESP coined a brand-new term: “Joyrista.”
Joyrista: (n) a person of varied ability who’s able to serve coffee and transformative joy. The joy is authentic in the Joyristas, many of whom would not have the opportunity for a fulfilling work experience in a traditional business environment. But through the training and support of ESP’s staff, they empower the young and eager entrepreneurs – many of whom have Down Syndrome – to take ownership and pride in their roles at Java Joy. “I love Java Joy because I get to