Some coffee shops are inspiring for their ambiance and warmth; some for their quality and taste; some for their innovation. One special coffee shop in Australia is inspiring for a different reason: a loving purpose of helping the mentally ill enter back into society. Michael Short reported on the special coffee shop this week, a coffee shop that not only serves wonderful coffee but which serves extra warmth through the caring of the barista, Anthony Cheeseman. Cheeseman, a former provincial champion barista, personally was touched by a mental disability in his family and knew the needs of sufferers of mental problems to recover and become involved socially during that recovery. He came into an answer quite by happenstance and by being in the right place at the right time. Now his café operates with half of the staff in this recovery mode, all working towards the business’ goal of serving excellent coffee and food. However, some of these special employees are being trained by MadCap but will move on to another coffee business. According to the report, one in five people in Australia suffers from some form of mental illness. Most of those citizens need employment, which can be a daunting problem. With the pioneering work of Cheeseman and his MadCap Café’s success, Cheeseman and his associates are looking elsewhere for this population’s employment. Because not everyone is right for working in a café, the other industries are being identified and readied to take on the recovering mentally ill workers. The story teaches us more. It’s not only government who can be expected to solve social problems, but private enterprise can play the biggest role. 2010 Australian of the Year Professor Pat McGorry sums it up: ''MadCap is more than just good coffee. It is one of Australia's best examples of how simple social inclusion can improve the mental health of our community.'' As the mental health of one community improves, so also will the health of the nation as a whole. Brew on MadCap!
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