Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cafe serves training for area's deaf

Cafe serves training for area's deaf

EVANSVILLE — DeF CaFe has quietly operated for nearly the past six months at 417 N. Weinbach Ave., offering ham, turkey or roasted beef sandwiches, tomato and spinach wraps and a variety of coffee drinks.

Except for the menu, it differs from most neighborhood cafes. DeF CaFe also serves up on-the-job restaurant training for the community's deaf population.

The cafe shares space with the long-established Connections Sign Language Interpreting Center — both of which were started by Sara Barnett.

Connections provides interpreters for area deaf residents on visits to schools, lawyers, the courts, doctors and other essential places.

The 900-square-foot cafe is open to the public, including the deaf community, which is encouraged to visit, said Trish Cox, spokeswoman for the center.

She said the cafe serves as a training ground for deaf people wanting to learn job skills for their resumes.

More than 10 deaf people have gained the experience since the cafe opened in November, including some who have advanced to jobs elsewhere in the community, Cox said.

"Their self-confidence improved."