'Spiderman's Mojo' coffee shop teaching work skills

HERSHEY, Neb. (KNOP)- A school in Hershey has teamed up with a superhero to teach job skills to special education students while providing beverages to staff.

"Spiderman's Mojo" was started by special education teacher, Codi Lorensen. It's a coffee, tea and bagel service where the students serve teachers and staff their orders everyday at school during 1st, 5th and 7th periods.

"This is my first year teaching at Hershey and I have seen it done at other jobs," said Lorensen, "I was talking to our ESU Service Coordinator and just getting ideas of how we can help these kids transition from high school out into the workforce and be successful. This is just one way that they’re getting a bunch of skills that will help them in the future."

The students picked the name and it's treated as a real business with uniforms they wear and launder, money to count and perfecting their food handling proficiency, all skills they are judged on for a grade.

"It has been a great addition to the program here at Hershey High School," said Megan Lantis with Educational Service Unit 16, "It gives kids the opportunity to practice real life skills, employ-ability skills, that they can utilize in a safe environment of the classroom, having a checklist so they can take that out into the real world with a job someday."

Savannah Schwager is one of the Spiderman Mojo workers and said she likes working there. "I like it because I get to help other people and I do very good at coffee and I just love coffee, that's most of the part I like. Thank you for ordering our coffee, Spiderman Mojo, and we will miss you next year and I hope you have a great day."

Lorensen said they have had a lot of support from the staff. "Everyone is super supportive, our administrators, teachers, parents, everybody’s ordering and they just want to help us and the students succeed."

This was the first year for the coffee shop at Hershey. Lorensen and Lantis said they hope to do it for many years.

"We’ve had such great success here that we are actually in the process of looking at additional funding options where we would have kind of check-out coffee shop availability so that if another school maybe doesn’t have the funding to get it started up and they could take this coffee shop on wheels, per se, and bring it into their classroom, start it up and see if it’s something that they like and then keep it for a year or possibly buy their own just to kind of try it out, so it’s kind of a
no risk opportunity to see how this could work in their own school communities," said Lantis.

The money earned at the shop goes back into getting more supplies for the business. Lorensen said they can accept tips and whatever money they make, she will take them out to dinner to continue to learn life skills, like how to place an order and leave a tip for wait staff.

"It’s hopefully getting them some skills such as money counting, hygiene, following multi steps, greeting people, being able to make a change, all of those skills so hopefully in the next couple of years when they graduate and years after, they can go ahead and get a job and be successful out there. So we’re starting the training out here and it will carry over into the real life application," said Lorensen.

The shop sells: "Sandman Coffee", "Webshooter Latte", "Peter Parker Cappuccino", hot chocolate, teas and bagels.

Lorensen wanted to thank the administration for allowing her to start the shop. "I’m very proud and very happy that they’ve given us this opportunity, not every school does this and it has made my job very meaningful this year."