Breaking Away Award of Excellence: Mike Pasulka
This week’s Break Away Award of Excellence honoree is Mike Pasulka, owner multiple San Diego restaurant/bars, including the new Players Sports Bar in Poway and Our Place Coffee on its patio. This isn’t your typical sports bar, though, Players has partnered up with the Arc of San Diego, a non-profit organization which “supports and empowers persons with disabilities to achieve their life goals.” Together they’ve provided jobs to 6 young adults with disabilities to learn the social, money and soft skills needed to run a restaurant.
Mike has been a donor to the Arc and an attendee of their annual golf tournament for years. When he learned about the opportunity to become even more involved as business owner, he wanted to get on board. This innovative enterprise provides employment opportunities for individuals who are too often overlooked or undervalued by job recruiters and hiring managers.
Mike says, “It’s important for everyone to have the sense of purpose when they wake up and go to a job in the morning. I like being able to provide that and be a part of their development. They’re happy to do things at work that most of us complain about or take for granted.”
Individuals with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and Autism work at Our Place Coffee. Regardless of their level of ability, employees are learning to maintain a food service area, complete point-of-sale transactions, serve coffee and other foods, and provide customer service.“Our Place Coffee is a tremendous place of opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities to be vibrant, contributing members of the community in which they live,” said David W. Schneider, President & CEO, The Arc of San Diego. “The pride that comes from going to work and earning a paycheck empowers these remarkable individuals to lead more independent and fulfilling lives.”
Linda Kurtin, Mike’s nominator, and mother of Our Place employee, Bernie, tells us how much of a blessing Mike and the ARC have been for her daughter. “Once our children graduate from the public school system at 22 years old, there’s limited opportunities for them to continue being contributing members of society, that’s where the ARC and this job come in and make a difference for Bernie.”
Michael Mather, the Marketing and Community Outreach Manager of the ARC, told us the name Our Place Coffee originated from the ARC’s yoga and wellness center directed by Dr. Paul Kurtin and his volunteers. There are so many ways to get involved, and it’s so inspiring that The Arc has built all of these branches in order to do so, no matter what your passion is.
“We are proud to partner with The Arc,” said Mike Pasulka, owner of Players Sports Bar. “It is important that all members of our community of all ability levels have the opportunity to work.” He ends by challenging other business owners, “our business is tough, but the rewards you receive from helping others are definitely worthwhile.”
Our Place Coffee is located at in a convenient shopping center at 13437 Community Road in Poway and is open Monday through Friday from 7am to 11am. You can go enjoy coffee or breakfast before your DMV appointment or your trip to Walmart to support these amazing, growing individuals. To donate or learn about other event s or how you can hire an adult with disabilities, visit http://www.arc-sd.com/home.