CLEVELAND — At the Stella Maris coffee shop, manager Kathleen Shea said every drink she pours is personal. Shea said she is marking 19 months in recovery.
This Coffee Shop is on the Stella Maris campus. The center has provided transformational drug and alcohol treatment services to the people of Greater Cleveland since 1948. Shea said this job is perfect for her because it brings together both of her passions.
“Customer service and things like that, and then also being in recovery,” Shea said.” To see the community and recovery mesh together is like, for me, it’s like a dream come true.”
After having to close during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this renovated, reimagined coffee shop with a purpose is now not only open to the public, it is home to a workforce training program for the clients of Stella Maris.
“Having client volunteers has been so beneficial for the coffee shop and it’s very beneficial for the clients. Like, they come in and they get to learn skills, they get to leave here as a full barista,” Shea said.
Stella Maris CEO Daniel Lettenberger-Klein said workforce development is an essential component of early recovery success and long-term stability.
“We saw a neat opportunity for it to be more than just coffee, because it’s never been just about the coffee. The coffee is important, but it’s not just about the coffee. It’s about why people come here, what they get out of it, and what they leave with,” Lettenberger-Klein said.
Anyone is welcome in the Stella Marris coffee shop. Former Stella Maris resident Patrick Patton stops in multiple times per week.
“I can come down here and get a cup of coffee. It’s not drinking. It’s good fellowship. We have fun,” Patton said. “As a recovering person and a person in recovery, I want those things I want to see the daylight. When I was using it was like everything was gray.”
Shea said every day interacting with this community while working at Stella Maris has been better and brighter than the last.
“It’s been a complete, complete blessing in my life today that I’m so grateful for,” she said.