Local restaurant gives hope to those with special needs

 

A Mid-Michigan restaurant not only specializes in delicious food but also helps young people in the community, specifically those with special needs.

The Junction of Hope in Chesaning is the nation’s first non-profit restaurant giving adults with special needs the chance at holding a job.

You may come in for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, but what you’ll leave with is an unexpected joy.

Something that’s brought customers back to the restaurant time and time again.

For 20 years this non-profit restaurant has been working towards a mission of offering opportunities and independence by employing people with special needs.

It’s a restaurant like no other that gives hope to its employees.

“Well what we’ve seen out there is that there’s a big stigma with special needs that they can’t do anything and we’ve seen that they could,” said Mike Jungerheld, the manager.

Leonard, who works up front because he’s quite the people person.

“He likes being out in public and his smile is just captivating, you know and that brings in people,” Jungerheld said.

Like any job, these employees need training and something even retraining.

Ultimately fulfilling that mission of HOPE, the foundation of this very special restaurant.

Spelled out in four simple HOPE, yet very powerful words.

Happiness

Opportunity

Perseverance

Empowerment.

In addition to the dose of pride and confidence, these workers here earn something else they believe is also pretty awesome.

So the next time you’re thinking of where you might go for your morning cup of joe, lunch or dinner, you might want to think about swinging by Junction of Hope.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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