Sergio represented Colombia at the International Summit for Leadership in the U.S., and plans to marry soon. With his savings from work, Diego bought an apartment. Eyner finished high school, and now intends to study auto-mechanics and open a small business.
Sergio, Diego and Eyner are Juan Valdez® Cafe employees, and part of the Ami-gos del Alma, a program of Best Buddies Colombia which offers the possibility of employment to more than 500 Colombians with cognitive disabilities.
For nine years, people from Best Buddies have been working our stores, where they serve customers, prepare beverages and fulfill the same tasks as other employees.
Seeing how these men and women are able to transcend their disabilities and perform their tasks has inspired their fellow employees.
“It is breaking that barrier or paradigm which we readily have of a disabled person. I have experienced this personally," says one Juan Valdez® Cafe Team Leader. "Working alongside them means seeing another way of being, and their contribu-tion is very beneficial and important at the business level."
The coordinator of the Best Buddies program at Juan Valdez® Cafe believes it's important business people are aware of the benefits of employing people with cognitive disabilities. She says that she herself has come to understand that there are no limits to human determination, and those with disabilities have the same desire to learn and grow.
This is why, at Juan Valdez® Café, we continue to support workplace inclusion.