Jo-2-Go is a cafe run by special-education students from
a classroom at Mukwonago High School.
Americans love their daily coffee. That's the motivation
behind Mukwonago High School's student-run cafe,
Jo-2-Go. The business is run in a classroom by special
education students under the leadership of teacher
Heather Kane-Terhorst. She started Jo-2-Go as a way to
raise funds for a district vehicle that would be
accessible to the special-needs students. Now, Jo-2-Go
is entering its ninth year.
"I was told that
if you wanted a van, you needed to make some money to
get it," said Kane-Terhorst. "We needed to sell
something consumable and everyone needs their coffee."
In its first
year, Jo-2-Go was run by students in a classroom with
three small coffee makers. They sold 15 hot drinks and
20 cups of coffee and were optimistic about the
reception by other students, staff and community. The
business has now expanded to the point that coffee
drinkers can order bulk orders ahead of time. Over 200
beverages in both the small and large sizes are sold
during the three-hour weekly period Jo-2-Go is open.
That doesn't include other iced beverages and food
items, which sell just as rapidly.
"Jo-2-Go is big
now," said Kane-Terhorst. "We need to be very careful to
make sure we're not violating fire code when people come
into my classroom and line up in the hallway."
Soon, Jo-2-Go may
be moved into an updated space due to the school
districtís ongoing renovations. Within the district,
voters approved a $49.5 million plan to make
improvements at the high school, including an expanded
cafeteria and new auditorium, along with a non-recurring
$350,000 annual operating referendum. The focus of the
projects is on portions of Mukwona go High School that
havenít been updated since it was built in 1972.
"It depends on
who you ask," said Kane-Terhorst. "We are supposed to be
moving into what they're calling the coffee shop/art
While the future
location of Jo-2-Go may still be up in the air, Kane-Terhorst
says that students have successfully helped raise money
for the special needs-accessible vehicle she originally
sought. The district is in the process of looking at a
type of minibus that would be ideal for all students.
Additional money raised is going into a district savings
account and towards adding some more modern technology
to the cafe.
"We've come a
long way from thinking we might be able to sell half a
pack of muffins," said Kane-Terhorst.
aside, the special-needs students who help operate
Jo-2-Go learn invaluable work skills as they assist with
preparation, counting money and buying supplies.
Students learn everything from time management to
professional manners when interacting with customers.
Some of the young baristas have used Jo-2-Go on their
resumes to gain other employment.
"We have the
opportunity to provide a supported work environment
where students can't get fired and can learn important
skills," said Kane-Terhorst. "It pays to support the
different pieces of this program."