Sean Reidt, student, Mason LIFE
What is the Mason LIFE Program? The Mason LIFE (Learning into Future Environments) Program is a four year post-secondary transition program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities at George Mason University. Mason LIFE has teamed up with Furnace Hills Coffee Company out of Westminster, Maryland whose head roaster is an individual with Down Syndrome to provide coffee as a way to not only help raise scholarship funds to keep Mason LIFE students in college but to get word out about the program as well. “We continually come across students on campus who are unaware this program exists,” said Andrew Hahn, Employment Coordinator of the LIFE Program.
The coffee, which costs $12.00 per pound, is a Bolivian Superior roast grown by the Valverde family. It is a light to medium roast that has a sweet, ripe tropical flavor with hints of chocolates, refined acidity, good balance, and a long delightful aftertaste. Mason LIFE will receive $4.25 cents per pound sold and 100% of the funds will go towards the Mason LIFE scholarship foundation to keep our students at the university.
“We know that our population isn’t generally afforded the opportunity to go to college,” Hahn said, “and when they do have the opportunity one of the biggest barriers in the way of completing the program is lack of appropriate funds.”
Base costs for the product will go back to Furnace Hills Coffee Company to cover their operating expenses.
“It is more of a partnership than someone funding the coffee. Furnace Hills is providing the product pre-packaged, then we are labeling them here on campus and talking about it in the Johnson Center, not only to help with fundraising efforts but to get the Mason LIFE name out there and to tell people that this amazing program exists,” Hahn said when asked about funding the coffee.
How and where can you purchase the coffee? The coffee can be purchased online and can be shipped anywhere in the United States or internationally. Flyers are being distributed in the Johnson Center which has instructions on how to purchase the coffee online at www.furnacehillscoffee.com/charitable-beans. Currently, only a mild roast caffeinated coffee is available but in the future they plan to have decaf coffee, hot chocolate and potentially tea. The shelf life for the coffee is 4 to 6 weeks and should be kept at or below room temperature. The coffee can be shipped whole bean or can arrive at your door pre-ground and ready to brew.
As a Mason Patriot, join us and help raise awareness about the Mason LIFE program and their amazing efforts in serving the disability community. Not only are you purchasing a high quality coffee to brew at home but you’re helping students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to further their education.
(Ed. note: We are proud to work with the Mason LIFE program to have their students work with Fourth Estate staff throughout the semester to get an article published. This is an article written by Sean Reidt, one of two Mason LIFE students that worked with Fourth Estate this fall.)
Featured image credited through Creative Commons license