By Krista Cascio

Making the most out of spare time between classes at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) can be a challenge for some students, especially those who may have back-to-back classes from morning until well into the afternoon. Yet there is a wonderful spot right on campus where you can grab a drink and relax for a few moments in between classes.

Serving refreshments that are classics among many, the Seashore Café is open from 9 AM – 4 PM on Monday through Thursday and is run by the 4Cs Project Forward program.

The Seashore Café operates at the junction between North and South hall, MM Wilkens Building, making it an ideal location within the campus, for those who find themselves unable to make it across campus to the Grossman Commons and back in time for their next class.

The Seashore Café serves up on-the-go sustenance such as bagels, granola bars and a beverage station that offers juice, hot chocolate, tea and a variety of six flavors available from Cape Cod Coffee- hot and ready to go.

“One of the new things that we’re doing this year is we’re finally implementing a credit card machine,” said Project Forward Director, Heather Bish-Martin. “Because who’s got time to think to remember to go to the bank when you’re trying to get homework done, and doing your job, and doing school.”

Students who still choose to pay in cash can participate in the café’s new loyalty card program, where once you’ve bought four coffees, you get your fifth one for free.

The Seashore Café acts as one of the worksites in which the students of Project Forward practice the skills they’ve learned throughout the program within their chosen trade.

Project Forward is a two year, “vocational program for students with intellectual disabilities” explained Bish-Martin. The program aims to distinguish what jobs are available on Cape for those who are differently abled and, “try to replicate experiences for the students while training them to do these jobs.”

During the first year, the students go through an exploration of six different topics before they choose which is the one that they would like to focus on. At that point, it’s during their second year that they are dispatched to the different worksites affiliated with Project Forward.

According to Bish-Martin, Project Forward students are expected to clock at least 50 hours at their designated worksite, but students who work at the Seashore Café often have the advantage of earning more hours due the convenience of their jobsite being right here on campus. Bish-Martin also expressed that the program is working towards other on-campus jobsites, along the same lines as the Café. One idea is for a basic pet-care facility, which would cater to their ‘Animal Care’ career focus option. Another possibility is an on-site laundry facility which would be available to students at a discounted cost.

Whatever the future holds for the program, it is undeniable that the Seashore Café has been a rousing success. For the students, the café is a place where they can really take hold of their independence that they otherwise might not be afforded.

“I think the difference with a person with a disability or more intellectually impaired individual is that they’re often put on tracks,” said Bish-Martin. “Or the adults in their life have told them that they can’t. You can’t get your license, you can’t go by yourself to do this, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. And so, at Project Forward our philosophy is: yes, you can.”

Project Forward is an incredibly important program here at 4Cs and it is a testament to the school that they have been able to create worthwhile opportunities for the students involved, such as the Seashore Café. The café also serves as a wonderful place on campus for all students to come by for a fresh beverage between classes; a relaxing break throughout the day that all students deserve.

Photo of Seashore employee Meagan Snyder by Cassie LeBel