Teacher Pays It Forward With Genius Student Coffee Cart Business

Originally Published: 
Image via Facebook/Chris Field

This teacher is going above and beyond, not only to help her own students, but to help kids across the country

Hearing about teachers going out of their way — and even into their own pocketbooks — to help their students learn and succeed is nothing new. But one special ed teacher at Grand Oaks High School in Texas, has found an innovative way to not only help her own kids achieve their goals, but to help students in other schools, too.

Chris Field, the author of Disrupting for Good, shared the story of first-year teacher Shelby Winder in a Facebook post last week, and it quickly went viral.

Chris begins the post by introducing his friend, who is teaching a Life Skills class for the first time, which “includes students with significant cognitive impairment in conjunction with adaptive disabilities.”

“Shelby came up with the brilliant idea of wanting to empower her students this year in some way that was meaningful and would outlast their time with her in the classroom,” Field wrote in part. “So she started buying all of the things they would need to start a traveling coffee cart. This would allow her students to walk around to each of the teachers and staff in the school and take their orders and then deliver their coffee to them on Fridays. Most importantly, this would allow the students to practice their social skills, communication, working through their shyness, and even learning how to run a simple business by calculating their expenses and profits.”

While the coffee cart, which the class named “The Grizzly Bean,” is great in itself, Winder didn’t want to stop there. She decided to take part of the profits from the little business and invest it in coffee carts for other schools with similar life skills classes. That way, their teachers wouldn’t have to fund the start-up costs, and even more students could learn what her students were learning: social skills, communication skills, responsibility, and business skills.

After the post, Winder wrote about what people who read the original post can do to help her cause.

Mostly, she explained how to donate to help students with disabilities: “For those wanting to donate, The Grizzly Bean Team is highly encouraging you to go into a school nearest you and ask to speak with an Administrator or Special Education Teacher and share with them the story of The Grizzly Bean and discuss ways to get one up and running in their school,” she wrote. “We would LOVE to see a ripple effect of the amazing things one simple cart and cup of coffee can do! We do thank you for your kindness and generosity. We hope to see it paid forward.”

She also shared an inspirational quote:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as you ever can.”

It sounds like she’s doing exactly that.

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