McKINNEY (CBS11 Sports) – While Jordan Spieth attacks St. Andrews across the pond, looking to win his 3rd straight major of the year, his foundation is attacking causes here at home.
The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation supports Hugs Café, a McKinney restaurant dedicated to providing a sustainable source of training and employment in the food service industry, for qualified special needs adults.
Its founder, Ruth Thompson, says the unemployment rate for this largely overlooked and underserved group is triple that of mainstream adults.
“Don’t get me wrong, there are corporations that do hire them, but, the percentage of the ones that are hired – you may have a corporation like a grocery store, that has over 400 employees, & they maybe have 4 with special needs working for them. There are hotels that will hire 1 to sweep up in the kitchen or do something, which is great.. but, what we want to do is give that community an opportunity. So, we will be hiring about 20 adults with special needs,” says Thompson.
For these workers, having a job is less about the money, than about having something of substance to do, according to Ruth. “The majority of them, when they age out of high school at age 21,22, they sit at home, watch tv or play video games. And they don’t have a purpose. And they have a purpose! They’re excited. They want to work.”
Terri Bradley, mother of an adult with special needs, loves the idea of Hugs Café. “Hugs has come along & offered our children a chance to be a part of the community. That’s all they really wanna do. They want to be a part of the community. They want to work, and serve, & they just wanna be a productive part of the community just like everybody else.”
Back to Ruth, she’ll take time out this week to watch Jordan Spieth play the British Open. She’s become very interested in Jordan’s success. The number 2 golfer in the world has a sister Ellie with special needs, himself. “Oh, I never knew anything about golf, until this connection with Jordan & with Ellie, & my biggest connection to him is Ellie. But, I’m watching golf now. I’m a huge football fanatic, and, now I find myself watching golf on tv. But, hey! I’m a supporter.. so he’s got a fan in me, now.”
Hugs Café will open it’s doors in September, and Ruth hopes the McKinney site is just the first of many more Hugs to come. “There are over 46,000 individuals with special needs in Collin County alone. Can you imagine how many there are just in North Texas? I’ve already been contacted by parents of adults with special needs in the Highland Park area. ‘Will you start number two here?’ Coppell – ‘let us help you & we’ll start number three here.’ We’re gonna have a Hugs Café everywhere & teach them food service & give them jobs.”
For more information about Hugs Café click here.
For more on the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation, click here.
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