Updated: Nov 5
Brought Together by Common Purpose
Former MERS Goodwill Teacher and Coffee Shop Owner
Teams up with Love Coffee to Expand Mission.
Meet Elizabeth Bennett, Manager at Love Coffee's soon-to-open kiosk in Columbia Orthopedic Group. Elizabeth relocated to Columbia in September, closing her North Star Coffee Shop in New Haven Missouri. She opened her shop in March of 2020 the same time Love Coffee opened in Columbia.
My Journey: Circumstances that led me to Love Coffee have been years in the making. Thirteen years ago, my life took a turn that I had never anticipated, full of anxiety, nervousness and the unknown which later has turned into one of the greatest gifts for me and my family. My daughter Lillian was born and she was diagnosed with Trisomy 21 aka Down Syndrome. I knew of Trisomy 21, because I had studied it in my genetics class while obtaining my Biology degree. I didn’t have any experience with anyone that had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome. The future was full of uncertainty but one thing that seemed to be for certain, was Lillian was ours and I was going to be her advocate til she can be her own.
My Mission: So, my journey began and led me to first open a coffee shop with the same premise of Love Coffee, to employ and educate individuals with disabilities. I recently decided to close my coffee shop and join Love Coffee’s mission. I also became a 2023 Partners in Policymaking Graduate through the Missouri Disability Development Council in Jefferson City. This is one of the most profound and rewarding programs. I am also working on publishing my first book entailing the journey of a young lady with down syndrome that is having her adventures through middle school, so that is very exciting.
I continually asked myself as a parent, what can I do to help Lillian become self-confident, and to embrace and accept herself as she is. Even though this is always an ongoing question with every child, since she is my third and her older brother and sister are in their 20s and both serving in the military; I decided that I don’t have to have all the answers, no one does, but we can continue to help by joining organizations like Love Coffee. Continue to educate, she can be seen not for her down syndrome but for herself, Lillian who just happens to have an extra chromosome.
Making Love Coffee Even Better: With her experience as a former coffee shop owner and as a 2023 Partners in Policymaking graduate, Elizabeth’s contributions of expertise and experience are a significant asset to Love Coffee’s mission. "I aim to bring education and training to our diverse community of individuals with disabilities."
Passion for the Job: "I'm honored to be a part of Love Coffee. Working side by side with individuals who share a deep passion for supporting those with disabilities is truly special. Employees at Love Coffee have welcomed me with open arms. I'm eager to continue building relationships with all our employees, board members, and cherished customers."
You can meet Elizabeth in person at Columbia Orthopedic Groups Surgery Center Kiosk starting in November.