Our First Anniversary

It's been a big month for Brother Andre's! On October 2nd, our Cafe turned one. Can you believe it?! This awesome place has been around for one whole year!

To celebrate our First Anniversary, we had a Mass in which every employee participated. I took the gifts up with Morgan and her mom. (My dad also came with us in case I needed help.) I was proud of myself because I was able to hold the gifts and drive at the same time. Not to brag, but that takes some skill.

After Mass, we all went down to the Cafe to have some cake. Then, Dan Gallagher and Mike Fitzgerald gave speeches about how quickly Brother Andre's has grown. It's true, we've gone from six employees to thirteen! Yes, thirteen wonderful employees and two managers: awesome Ree and sweet Bridgette. Wait! Did I say sweet? Hmm...I'll have to think about that for a while.

We have done so much together. There were Brother Andre's employee outings, pop-up celebrations (for just about any reason), and our very own basketball game. (Go check out some of my blogs, if you want to read about these events.) I think everyone will agree with me when I say that Brother Andre's has been a Blessing! We are like a big family who likes to be together and celebrate life.

And it's not only the employees who are affected by the spirit of Brother Andre's - most of the people who come into the Cafe become 'return customers'. Brother Andre's has become a big part of the community. 

We get a variety of different customers, from new people who have just discovered us, to business people on their lunch break, and often, Penguins' employees. Some of the Penguins' staff have become regulars. We've gotten to know them and love seeing their smiling faces! (In the past they have given our staff tickets to a Pens' game, and we greatly appreciate the gesture.)

Some Special Needs groups visit too. A group called Class comes every Wednesday. They enjoy the food and love trying our unique drinks. Our employees know the people in Class, so there are many conversations.

The City Connections classes also come often to the coffee shop. City Connections is a community-based program for 18 to 21-year-olds with disabilities. I went to this program and loved it. Sometimes, when they come, I get to see some of my old teachers and therapists, which makes me really excited!

Another program that has become involved with Brother Andre's is Creative Citizens Studios. This program provides an opportunity to create and experience the Arts for people with disabilities. An Artist hosts a monthly workshop here and it has been great. I've been involved with them for a couple years now and I absolutely love it. Creative Citizens Studios workshops are inspirational!

For me, Brother Andre's has changed my life. I love that I get to have a job doing some things I love: writing and chatting with the customers (of course).

Another awesome thing Brother Andre's has given me is the gift of friendship! I have met many amazing people who have become some of my closest friends. Oh, yeah, one more thing you should know about us here at Brother Andre's is that we are very sassy. I won't mention any names but you can guess who has the most sass!

I can't believe that this Cafe has been open for a year! Brother Andre's has affected a lot of people, not only the employees, but everyone who comes in. Brother Andre's has had an incredible first year! Many more years are to come!