Java Joy

Java Joy employs adults with special needs.

Java Joy, a mobile coffee cart service operated by adults with disabilities, will launch in Atlanta after beginning its nationwide expansion in San Francisco in 2019.

Founded in Athens, Java Joy not only provides meaningful employment to individuals with disabilities but also brings an impactful experience for businesses looking for a company culture boost.

Java Joy’s mission is to spread unmatched joy through moments of engagement with people of all abilities. The coffee company also provides education and engagement opportunities between people with and without disabilities. The unbridled joy and genuine enthusiasm from Joyristas (Joy + baristas) is something businesses from Atlanta to San Francisco see as a vital need within their companies, throughout cities, and for all community members alike.

“What started with a team of five Joyristas serving coffee in Athens to our corporate supporters has turned into a business centered around bringing joy to communities across the country,” Laura Whitaker, Java Joy Co-Founder and Executive Director of Java Joy parent organization, Extra Special People, said. “We believe individuals with disabilities have abilities that are waiting to be shared, and we have such a sense of gratitude to share that transformative joy beyond our city limits. Every community deserves to experience Java Joy.”

Joyristas provide people much more than their daily caffeine-fix. Joyristas are known for greeting customers with their signature smiles and friendly hugs with every cup of coffee. In the wake of COVID-19, Java Joy quickly pivoted and enhanced their model to ensure that joy and coffee did not stop flowing.

Their new COVID-19 friendly model includes giving air hugs, practicing social-distancing and requiring employees to wear face masks, while encouraging customers to do the same. This has allowed Java Joy to continue serving its home community of Athens through neighborhood pop-ups and a socially-distanced parade.

Joyristas also shared joy virtually by offering JoyGrams for individuals looking to send a message of hope to friends and family members and a JoyStarter program for businesses wanting to kick-off their Zoom meetings with a dose of joy. Joyristas are taking every opportunity to safely continue promoting positivity and create an environment for people to slow down and appreciate the simple joys in life, even creating Joy Collective boxes to ship a sweet surprise to anyone who needs a pick-me-up.

Java Joy customers are not the only ones positively impacted through this expansion. Through Java Joy, Joyristas are given the opportunity to experience self-sustaining employment and learn life skills through their responsibilities. The Joyristas go through extensive training and development, then travel to businesses and events with a mobile coffee cart to spread joy by serving delicious coffee, giving heartfelt air hugs and inspiring everyone they meet with their bright smiles.

Community members and business owners who book Java Joy to serve coffee at their company, conference or special event can provide a unique experience while promoting an atmosphere of inclusion, diversity and acceptance.

By 2022, Java Joy aims to bring its impactful experience to 15 cities and employ 250 adults with disabilities. Those looking to learn more, book Java Joy or become a Joyrista can visit

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