NEWARK — The Down Syndrome Association of Delaware celebrated the grand opening of its new café and office space in Newark with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.
The new space will provide paid job-training internship experiences for adults with Down syndrome, culminating in competitive employment for all of its interns.
It also features a gift shop with products made by adults with Down syndrome such as candles, bath bombs, dog treats, greeting cards, and jewelry. These handmade products are ordered by the DSA of Delaware from businesses throughout the country and one from England.
The new café is located at 1240 Capitol Trail off of Kirkwood Highway.
“Our gift shop and café applies job training to individuals with Down syndrome so they can pursue full-time employment opportunities with competitive, integrated employment,” said DSA of Delaware executive director Lauren Camp Gates. “We’re really excited to have a large presence in the community at-large and to allow the community to get to know our families and vice-versa.”
The café offers ready-to-go meals, catering for events large and small, breakfast and lunch, Ms. Camp Gates said. She added it will have new hours and menus coming in 2022. The café is currently open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as well as from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays.
The café’s kitchen will be known as Victoria’s Kitchen, dedicated to the memory of Victoria Marsh who passed away earlier this year due to cancer at the age of 19. Victoria and her family were active members of the DSA of Delaware as her mother, Karen Marsh, served as board president for many years and her father, Rob Marsh, was an active walk committee member.
The DSA of Delaware said Victoria was always present at events and loved attending programs such as the Days of Summer Camp, and most of all, cooking classes, as she had a strong love for cooking and food.
“Her passion for cooking and life in general left a huge impact on the world,” Ms. Camp Gates said. “We know Victoria’s Kitchen will change the life of many adults with Down syndrome who will intern in the space.”
The DSA of Delaware said the café will allow it to live out its mission — aiming to be a supportive resource, advocating for the acceptance and understanding that allows individuals with Down syndrome to achieve the same level of access and opportunity as their peers.
It encouraged members of the community to stop in the café for “shopping, smoothies, coffee, and food served with a smile.”
For more information on the café, visit the website.