Tuesday, July 5, 2002 - Today, the application for employment for Sleepy Coffee, Too has gone LIVE!!!! This is another HUGE step for our business! We are getting closer and closer to the finish line - our GRAND OPENING!! I can't wait for those applications to come rolling in!

Monday, July 4, 2022 - Happy 4th of July!!

It has been almost a month since I last blogged. I have to apologize. It is getting increasingly more difficult to write on a consistent basis, but I am going to try especially since things are really going to start moving even faster than they have this past year. Let me give you an update:

Sleepy Coffee, Too has been approved by the Village of Sleepy Hollow! (June 16)

The construction plans are almost ready!

I have negotiated and signed the lease for 110 Beekman Ave, and I have the keys!!

We will be submitting our application for the building permit soon and will begin to build out the space!

We are about to start ordering our equipment!

The application for employment is ready and will be live starting tomorrow, July 5 and will be open until August 12. Then, we will start the interview process with our prospective candidates.

We registered with the Charities Bureau of New York State so that we will be listed as an approved charity and will then be eligible to apply for grants through New York State!

AND, in addition to all of that, Elvira and I just returned from an amazing trip to California where we immersed ourselves into our friend, JoAnn Adams coffee house in Seal Beach called "Bogart's Coffee House". We learned so much about the coffee shop business and gained some valuable hands-on experience. I will be posting pictures and even a training video that we made while we were out there. It was so much fun! We got so many ideas for Sleepy Coffee, too!

Here is the link to the training video we made at Bogart's!! Thank you, JoAnn!!!

June 6, 2022

Special Education coffee shop in Westchester County (

Here is the link for the Fox 5 News story that aired last Friday!! We are beyond excited and grateful for this coverage! Thank you Richard Giacovas for pitching the idea and your relentless will to make it happen and Peter Cinnante for your outstanding camera work. We love you both and you are now forever part of our Sleepy Coffee, Too family.

Saturday, May 14, 2022 - Here is the link for the article about Sleepy Coffee, Too in the Hudson Independent!

Tuesday, May 11, 2022 - Channel 5 News shooting a story today about us - Sleepy Coffee, Too!! Am told it will air either tomorrow or Friday! Me, my Board and some of my future employees and parents will be there!

Keep an eye out for it!!

We are PSYCHED!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2022: I PASSED MY SERVESAFE FOOD PROTECTION MANAGER CERTIFICATION TEST WITH A 90%!!!!! Woo Hoo!! Certificate forthcoming!! Necessary for the coffee shop!

(I want to know which one's I got wrong - it's the teacher in me!!)

Friday, May 6, 2022: Here is the "blurb" that Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Supervisor, wrote about us. The link for the radio interview is at the end. Thank you Paul for being such a great supporter of our mission!


The developjmentally disabled deserve the chance for meaningful employment opportunities. Tarrytown's Kim Kaczmarek, who was a special education teacher in Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown for many years, is providing some former students with a fantastic opportunity. She's working hard and will open a new coffee shop in Sleepy Hollow this fall--the business will be run with kids with developmental disabilities The employees will also bake delicious brownies for their customers and will learn social, workplace skills. Kim highlights how dedicated many teachers are and how they care about their students. She worked for years as a special education teacher but was frustrated that her students frequently did not good jobs after graduating schools. She's doing something --and the business (Sleepy Hollow Too) will open up at 110 Beekman Ave. Many of her former students have already applied to run the shop. They are excited. They are smiling. They are looking forward to providing customers with warm and iced drinks including cold brew and expresso and delicious baked goods and breakfast casseroles. Kim is a real inspiration.

I hope that Kim's efforts will inspire others to open up stores that employ the developmental disabled. Also hope that assisted living facilities in our town and region will consider creating more job opportunities for the developmentally disabled in their facilities. (housing for employees would also be helpful). People with different disabilities also deserve a chance to work and enjoy a great life.

I interviewed Kim on my WVOX radio program about her efforts. The interview can be heard by clicking onto the link below:


May 3, 2022 - WOW!! I haven't blogged in a while! So sorry for that. Things have been moving very fast. We had to postpone the Flame concert yet again due to Covid exposure with the band. I am disappointed, but they are forecasting rain for Saturday and maybe the universe is telling me that a different date would be better - perhaps summer down by the river or for our Grand Opening in the fall.

Saturday night, my Board and I attended the Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns Spring Benefit. This time, I didn't attend as a teacher - I attended as a BUSINESS!! Sleepy Coffee, Too was a Silver Sponsor of the event! We had a great time and it was a wonderful way to get the word out about our business while also helping a worthy cause.

Sleepy Coffee, Too has also been invited to be a part of "Food Truck Fridays" in July. Even though we don't have a food truck, the village thought of us to be the coffee vendor for this event! Food Truck Fridays will be taking place on July 8. 15. 22 and 29 from 4:00 pm until sunset. There will also be live music! Come on down to the new Riverwalk by Edge on Hudson and say hello!

Guess what? I will be a guest on Paul Feiner's radio show this Friday, May 6th from 10 -11 am! The interview will be on WVOX. Listen in if you have the time!

Yesterday, I had the nicest thing happen. Here is the post I wrote on my Facebook page:

I feel so blessed, I just have to share. My neighbor, Keri, stopped by my house today and brought me this gift that was part of her family. These beautiful tea cups and saucers belonged to her “Grammy”. They were passed down to Keri’s mom ( my friend Dianne) and then to Keri. Keri wanted them to be used and admired, so she thought of Sleepy Coffee, Too!! I am so touched by her kindness and thoughtfulness. We talked about offering “high tea” at the shop and I love the idea! Maybe once a week or month, we could offer high tea, with the sweet and savory goodies that accompany and use these beautiful cups. She didn’t know this, but my mom also got me started on a collection too, which I display in my dining room, with teacups and teapots! So thankful for the wonderful people in my life. Thanks Keri!!

I have been researching "High Tea" and found out some pretty interesting things: From what I found out, I think we will be offering "Afternoon Tea" at the shop. I can't wait to use all of the pretty things that people have given me, plus what I have collected. By the way, I also have a new obsession for cake stands. Photo to follow!

Outside of the United Kingdom, many people refer to afternoon tea as 'high tea.' Although the idea that high tea is a meal of foods like scones and finger sandwiches is common, it is not actually correct in a traditional or historical sense.

What Is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea, also known as 'low tea,' is what most people think of when they hear 'high tea.' It involves things like manners, lace, and dainty foods. It is typically served in the mid-afternoon and it was traditionally served on low tables, hence its two names.

An afternoon tea menu is light and focuses on scones, finger sandwiches. Marmalade, lemon curds, and herbed butter may also be included. Favorite teas for afternoon tea include black teas like Earl Grey and Assam as well as herbal teas like chamomile and mint.

Historically, afternoon tea was considered to be a ladies' social occasion, and it is more often enjoyed by women than men to this day.

What Is High Tea?

Traditionally, high tea was a working-class meal served on a high table at the end of the workday, shortly after 5 p.m.

High tea was a heavy meal of:

  • Meat dishes such as steak and kidney pie

  • Fish dishes such as pickled salmon

  • Baked goods such as crumpets or, in Ireland, barmbrack

  • Vegetables such as potatoes or onion cakes

  • Other heavy foods such as baked beans and cheesy casseroles

High tea was much more of a working-class family meal than it was an elite social gathering.

A Brief History of Afternoon Tea

Legend has it that afternoon tea was started in the mid-1800s by the Duchess of Bedford. Around this time, kerosene lamps were introduced in wealthier homes, and eating a late dinner (around 8 or 9 p.m.) became fashionable. This increasingly late dinner was one of only two meals each day, the other was a mid-morning, breakfast-like meal.

The story goes that the Duchess found herself with a "sinking feeling." This was likely fatigue from hunger during the long wait between meals. She decided to invite friends over for assorted snacks and tea, which was a very fashionable drink at the time.

The idea of an afternoon tea gathering spread across high society and became a favorite pastime of ladies of leisure. Later, it spread beyond the highest echelons of society and became more accessible for other socioeconomic groups.

Today, tea is a major component of many British meals, including breakfast, 'elevenses,' afternoon tea, and 'tea' (which is more like traditional high tea than afternoon tea).

Types of Afternoon Tea

Although many Americans think of afternoon tea as having a set menu, there are many variations on this tea-centric meal.

  • The simplest form of afternoon tea is cream tea -- a meal of tea, scones, and cream.

  • Add fresh strawberries to cream tea and you have ​strawberry tea.

  • If you add more sweets to cream tea, you get light tea.

  • Add savory foods, like finger sandwiches to light tea and you get full tea, which is the elaborate meal most Americans think of when they hear the phrase 'afternoon tea.'

Some hotels and tea rooms also offer other variations on afternoon tea, such as champagne tea (afternoon tea served with a glass of champagne) and teddy bear tea (a children's afternoon tea party featuring dolls and teddy bears). In Bath, England, Sally Lunns are a popular addition to afternoon tea.

Have a great Tuesday!!!!! Kim

April 7, 2022 - Thank you to those of you who weighed in on the naming of the latest bread I tested for Sleepy Coffee, Too. You were all very creative and I was impressed by all entries.

However, I have picked a winner and have placed the name on the menu which you can see on the website. It is a name that, I feel, captures the essence of the bread. (which is super delicious, by the way)

And the winner is.....drum roll please.........

Mary Lynn Pearlman with her entry, A to Z Nut Bread!!!!


Mary Lynn!!!!!

Here is an article that was in the Westchester Business Journal on April 3rd (my birthday!!)

I am so happy about all of the "press" and "buzz" Sleepy Coffee, Too is getting recently.

I don't mean in any way to sound unappreciative, but some things, as a former teacher - well, I will ALWAYS be a teacher - , bug me!!

1. Half way through the article, he started calling "Sleepy COFFEE, Too" "Sleepy HOLLOW, Too.

2. In one sentence he referred to me as "he" instead of "she".

I know it may sound picky, but I WANT IT TO BE RIGHT!!

Is that so much to ask?

Anyway, in the big scheme of life, it probably doesn't matter and it is a nice article.

Enjoy and ignore my rant!

"A Coffee Shop With A Cause"

A ‘coffee shop with a cause’ is coming to Sleepy Hollow

By Phil Hall - April 3, 2022


Kim Kaczmarek. Contributed photo.

A new café is coming to Sleepy Hollow, but this will not be part of a nationally prominent coffee chain. Instead, the new Sleepy Coffee, Too will be an independently owned and operated nonprofit with a double mission of pouring the finest coffee while providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The driving force behind this endeavor is Kim Kaczmarek, a retired special education teacher who worked for 35 years at Sleepy Hollow High School. The new café is inspired by a food-service initiative that she coordinated while she was still a teacher that involved students making coffee and selling it from a cart within the school.

“I started a business with my students called Sleepy Coffee, and it’s still running even though I’ve retired,” she said. “It became a focal point in the school. But what I was noticing was that when my students graduated, there really wasn’t anything out there for them in terms of meaningful employment. So, in my retirement, I decided to start a nonprofit, and kind of bring the original sleepy coffee into the community.”

Kaczmarek, who has no previous experience starting a B2C operation, envisioned Sleepy Hollow, Too as a coffee shop for training and employing the graduates of her former high school program who are now adults but having problems obtaining meaningful employment. She stressed that her previous experience with students proved the concept could succeed.

“I baked with the kids every day and made the coffee and I embedded into their academic program because I ran a life skills program,” he said. “The school rallied around us, and what was really wonderful was to see the transformation of people’s perceptions of my students with special needs — they started to respect them and value what they did. And it kind of changed the culture of the school — we were very, very proud of it.”

She already has a location for Sleepy Hollow, Too planned at 110 Beekman Ave., inside what she described as “an old warehouse,” and she is working with the municipal government on getting her business approved.

“We’re working with the architect and we have to submit all our plans to the village,” she continued. “But the village is very aware of what we’re doing and very supportive.”

Kaczmarek is crowdfunding her launch via a GoFundMe page with a $150,000 goal — she recently passed the $26,000 mark — and through special fundraising events. Since planting the seeds for this project last August, the project has blossomed from a one-woman endeavor to an evolving endeavor with a five-member board of directors and nine future employees ready to work for her.

“While the direct service employees are going to be my former students who have a variety of special needs, I’m going to have one or two general managers and myself, of course, who will be overseeing,” she said. “And depending on the employee, we’re also going to have job coaches that will shadow them during their shift, in case they encounter an issue or a problem or need some help.

“We’re going to have the employees work a three-day-a-week schedule, so it’ll either be Monday-Wednesday- Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday,” she added, “and there’ll be teams of maybe three or four employees that will work a three- or four-hour shift per day, and then we’ll have multiple shifts.”

Kaczmarek is also getting input from people interested in volunteering to help her launch Sleepy Hollow, Too in either September or October, in order to take advantage with the autumnal festivities that bring visitors to Sleepy Hollow.

“The community is very excited because there’s no real coffee shop in Sleepy Hollow,” she said. “It makes us a coffee shop with a cause.”


March 22, 2022

WOW! What a night last night was!!! Our fundraiser at J.P. Doyles was a huge success. I didn't know that News 12 and the Hudson Independent were coming!! The turn out was great. So many family and friends - old and new! Such love in the room! John, Mark and Carol Cronin were there and they gave an inspiring talk. Everything was amazing. My heart is full. Here is the article from the Journal News and the piece that News 12 did. As Hillary just texted me, "We are famous!"

March 17, 2022 - Happy St. Patrick's Day!! May the luck of the Irish shine upon you. That is Exactly how I am feeling about the journey to create Sleepy Coffee, Too! I AM Irish and I feel like the Irish luck has just been with me through all of this.

Yesterday, Elvira and I went to St.; Teresa's church in Sleepy Hollow, just one building over from our shop. We went their to ask if we could use their auditorium for the Flame concert on April 2nd. We are afraid that if we have bad weather and the concert is outside (Kingsland Pt. Park) we will have to cancel it. The water for the bathrooms will not be turned on by that date, and the pavillion that is there will not accommodate what we need. We needed to speak to the Priest, Father Rumando Peralta. We met him and he is so kind. We told him what we are all about. At first, he told us that because it is Lent, the church does not do any celebrations. Then, after speaking withh him for awahile he said that because this was for the people with special needs, he would make an exception. AND - he wasn't going to charge us anything! He said we are going to be neighbors and we have to help each other out. I am so happy to be a part of this neighborhood!

This morning, Marianne LePore, realtor and parent of one of my former students, invited me to go to the monthly Chamber of Commerce meeting. I went and had a wonderful time. Such a nice, supportive group of people. When I introduced myself and told them about the plans for the coffee shop, everyone clapped! I made some good contacts there. It was at the JCC, where I have worked and helped to run programs in the past. I met the new Executive Director and he wants to meet to discuss collaborating. I will be joining this organization for Sleepy Coffee, Too in the near future.

March 15, 2022 - What a fantastic day Sunday was!! Ms. Wanda (my beloved Jeep named after my Mom) was all dressed up in St. Patrick's Day garb and Sleepy Coffee, Too was represented with our beautiful "coming soon" banner laid across the hood for all to see! My Board members and besties: Elvira, Nancy, Sue and Elvira's daughter, Susy, a future employee, were on board and threw candy wrapped in gold foil to the children in the crowd from the windows. The reception we received from the crowd was priceless! People we knew and ppeople we didn't know. As we turned the corner to enter Beekman Ave., there was what seemed like a sea of people waving and cheering for us. What a great feeling to know that people are so excited that our coffee shop is coming.

After the parade, we went to J.P. Doyles (where our fundraiser will be next Monday night) to celebrate with our village. It was so much fun running into old friends, former SHHS students and just plain supporters of our mission - people we didn't know until that moment! I love this town and I am so greateful to be a part of it.

March 10, 2022 - WE DID IT!!!!! Frances launched the Go Fund Me page last night! As of this morning, it has raised 10, 995.00!!!

I am in awe of people's generosity!! Thank you!! Our goal is to raise 150,00.00. I know we can do it!! Besides the Go Fund Me, we also have people buying tickets for the fundraising dinner with John's Crazy Socks at J.P. Doyles, the Flame concert and our Merch! We will get there!!!!

March 8, 2022 -

Today is International Women's Day! The theme this year is "BREAK THE BIAS". International Women’s Day 2022 is on Tuesday 8 March. It is an opportunity to act, improve opportunities and rebuild post-pandemic workplaces without bias for the benefit of everyone.

I feel empowered today! I am a woman, who is starting a new, inclusive business at the age of retirement to benefit a community of people whom I love so much! I feel blessed beyond words!

How am I spending my International Women's Day? I am attending a virtual conference entitled, "Building Resilience: A Virtual Conference for Women in Business". It is being sponsored by SBDC - the Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center. They have been one of the agencies that has mentored me through my journey.

And guess what? Our own Jodie Dawson from Java Love is one of the presenters!!! So proud of Jodie and proud to be mentored by her and Kristine.

Have a great day and remember to check your bias!


PS - Here are some NEW events you can catch Sleepy Coffee, Too at:

This Sunday, March 13th - we will be driving Ms. Wanda (my Jeep) all decorated in the St. Patrick's Day Parade!

Sunday, March 26th - we will be set up at the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon - Morse School parking lot!

COME SEE US!!!! We will have the banner out again in case you didn't get a chance to sign it and we will also have our coffee and goodies and Merch!! Oh my!!!

March 3, 2022 - WOW!!!!!!! It has been a crazy busy but AMAZING few days!! I am sorry I haven't written anything for a few days, but I was so busy getting ready for our Kick-off event for Disability Awareness month. We had the event yesterday and it was a huge success! We did two sessions at the Cortlandt St. Plaza in Sleepy Hollow. One from 7-10 am and one from 3-6 pm. We had a great turnout from the community. It was like a reunion on so many levels. Old friends, former students, and lots of new friends. Everyone was so wonderful and the outpouring of love, support and encouagement was overwhelming. Our Inclusion banner is full of names, we sold lots of Merch and we received many generous donations. People LOVED the coffee from Java Love and our homemade baked goods, courtesy of me! I could not have done any of this without the help of some very wonderful people:

Nancy Byrne - my best friend from kindergarten helped me ALL day with EVERYTHING!

Kelsy Byrne - who volunteered for the morning session and was a major problem solver!

Bob Kaczmarek- for the folding tables that solved the banner problem!

Zach Kaczmarek - son, constant supporter and volunteer

Molly Leavy - who volunteered with us all morning and then went to work!

Diego Portilla - Westchester Pro Contracting - our contractor and friend and SPONSOR!!!!!!!!

The Village of Sleepy Hollow - Mayor, Board of Trustees, Village Manager, Superintendent of Recreation, Police, DPW and FIre Department.

My former students and future employees - Molly, Susy, Hillary, Ella, Alyssa, Justin D., Justin L., Omar, Nythia, Ramon

Their parents!!!!

My former staff and best friends - Elvira and Jessica

Our photographer

And so many other former colleagues and community members

I am blessed beyond imagination

Thank you all so much.

February 25, 2022 - Well, yesterday was an unexpectedly amazing day. My contractor and friend, Diego Portilla, owner of Westchester Pro Contracting, called me and said he wanted to sponsor both fundraising events we will be having during the month of March - John's Crazy Socks and the Flame concert! I was so overwhelmed with his generosity! There are so many good people out there and he is one of them! Thank you Diego so much!!

Also, the rest of our Merch arrived yesterday, including our pledge banners for next Wednesday's Spread the Word - Inclusion Day. They are beautiful but HUGE!! I think we will bring them to all of our events this coming month so people can sign them.

Special Olympics also sent us some t-shirts and materials for Spread the Word Day. Thank you so much!!! I will be spending today organizing the merch and materials for Wednesday since the weather is so nasty today with all of the ice!

February 24, 2022 - THE MERCH IS HERE!!! Multiple boxes arrived at my house yesterday filled with baseball hats, t-shirts and hoodies for Sleepy Coffee, Too!! They will be sold at all of our events next week. Hats are 25.00, t-shirts are 20.00 and hoodies are 35.00. More and different items will be ordered as we get closer to opening. If you ordered a t-shirt, I will be geting those ready to either deliver or mail to you in the next day or so. Thank you for your support!

We had a very productive board meeting last night. The official finalized schedule for the events for March Disabilities Awareness month will be posted today as well as the ability to purchase tickets for John's Crazy Socks fundraising dinner and the fundraising Flame concert on the website.

Along with our events next month (which begins next week!), we will be representing Sleepy Coffee, Too in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow! We (our board) will be decorating Miss Wanda (my red Jeep) and riding in the parade! So excited! We will be representing my Irish heritage AND Sleepy Coffee, Too! We will be displaying our Inclusion banners on the Jeep! Come out and say Hi! We will have special treats for the crowd!

So, NEXT WEDNESDAY, COME OUT TO SEE US FOR SPREAD THE WORD INCLUSION DAY!!! We will be located at the intersection of Beekman Ave. and Cortlandt St. in Sleepy Hollow from 7-10 am and from 3-6 pm! Come and sign the inclusion banner. Meet us! Get a free gift. Buy our Merch. Make a donation. Show that you are a Champion of Change!! Try some of our coffee and homemade baked goods!

It's 2/22/22 !!!!!! That means it's a palindrome AND AN ambigram - the date will read the same from left to right, right to left AND upside down!!! AND it is Tuesday, I mean TWOSDAY!! Get it? Two? How cool is that? Today must be a lucky day - put all of your good vibes into the universe!!! No negativity!! I seem to be very intune to things like this. I frequently will look at the clock and see that the time is all the same number. When that happens, I always pause and say a prayer. I feel it is like someone who has passed is trying to get my attention. It is a very peaceful feeling.

Today, I read something that really struck me. I had heard of this years ago. I think we had this as a presentation on an opening day of school. Anyway, I came across it today and thought I would share. I am trying to live my life at 212.


At 211 degrees, water is hot.

At 212 degrees, it boils.

And with boiling water, comes steam.

And with steam, you can power a train.

One degree.

Applying one extra degree of temperature to water means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine - a beautifully uncomplicated metaphor that should feed our every endeavor - consistently pushing us to give the extra effort in every task, action, and effort we undertake. Two-twelve serves as a forceful drill sergeant with its motivating and focused message while adhering to a scientific law - a natural law. It reminds us that seemingly small things can make tremendous differences. So simple is the analogy, that you can stop reading right now, walk away with the opening thought firmly planted in your mind and benefit from it for the rest of your life.

The point of this is to help you internally define and take ownership of the most fundamental principle behind achieving life results beyond your expectations - a simple idea with a singular focus - an actionable focus.


It's this dramatic - three numbers joined together to form one, crystallizing a message that absolutely assures life-altering positive results for those who choose to apply it.


February 21, 2022 - Happy Birthday to my brother Clay yesterday!! I sent him some Java Lova coffee and a chocolate chip banana bread! He said he loved it!!

Today, I had one of those feelings like I needed a fix at the Christmas Tree Store - one of my favs! So, I took a drive over to the one in White Plains. I found a lot of St. Patrick's Day decorations to decorate my Jeep, Miss Wanda for the parade. Did I tell you all that Miss Wanda will be driving in the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow St. Patrick's Day parade on March 13th!!! Myself and my Board for Sleepy Coffee, Too will be representing! Me, Elvira, Jessica, Nancy and Sue!! We will have the Inclusion banner and the Coming Soon banner on the Jeep with all of the signatures from Spread the Word Inclusion Day! It should be a lot of fun! The parade ends right near where our new shop will be on Beekman Ave.! (I even got some decorations for the girls to wear!)

February 19, 2022 - With all of the positive things that happened last week regarding Sleepy Coffee, Too - I am feeling so happy and so excited about what is to come. Last night, we had our Zoom get together with our After Hours crew. It is always so much fun. They make us smile and we all laugh and have such a good time that we don't want it to end. I shared with them all of the upcoming events for Disability Awareness month and they are very excited to particpate. One of the things I tried to teach them when they were my students is to be proud of who you are. Having a disability does not define you. It is just one part of you. And WE ALL HAVE DISABILITIES!! No one is born perfect. They have embraced their disability and are proud of who they are - and are even proud to represent that community. I am so proud of each of them.

February 18, 2022 - Happy Friday!! And for all of my teaching friends and colleagues - Happy Vacation!

I haven't posted in the last couple of days because it has been crazy busy!!! Yesterday was Randon Acts of Kindness Day. I hope you were able to do something nice for someone - especialy if it was anonymous. Those are the best kind! Since posting about our upcoming events for Disability Awareness, it has been so busy. So many people offered their congratulations and their services or time to help with our mission. I can feel the community already coming together and it will just keep growing!

Let's see - on Wednesday, I had a zoom meeting with Mark and John Cronin. It was wonderful. There are even more ways that they are going to be helping us than I expected. I also spoke to Brian Doyle regarding the fundraising dinner at J.P. Doyles. Then, Sam and I visited Java Love and Coffee for Good. Both visits were so great and so helpful. Yesterday, I picked up my auction wins!! I LOVE the neon sign - so cool. I will post a picture of it. I also spoke to a woman who is also opening a new shop on Beekman Ave. I won't say who or what at this point, because I don't have her permission. However, we had a great talk and we are going to try to figure out how we can collaborate. More to come on that at a later date. I just love that though - collaboration!!

Today, I had a meeting with Sam. He showed me the first blueprint of the shop. Then, we brainstormed in terms of what is needed in the shop and where it would be located. It was so much fun! I can see it coming together! I also met with Matt regarding venues for the Flame concert. We are still contemplating what we are going to do. I am also meeting with the landlord to firm up the lease.

So, everything is moving in a positive direction. It is so satisfying and fulfilling!

And.....tonight - ZOOMING with the After Hours crew!

NEWSFLASH!!! THIS JUST IN!!!!! I just received the official approval letter from the IRS!!!!!!! WooHoo!!! We are LEGIT!!!!!!!

I AM SOOOOOOOOO HAPPY!!!!! We are on our way in a BIG way!!!

Have a wonderful weekend!


February 16, 2022 - WE DID IT!!!! I would have posted here last night, but I was so excited to get the word out on social media right after the village board meeting. Nancy, Elvira and I presented our plans for Sleepy Coffee, Too for the month of March for Disability Awareness. The board was so supportive of what we want to bring to the community. They approved all of our plans. We will have 4 amazing awareness days with fun activites planned plus a month long on-line fundraiser with John's Crazy Socks! I added an event page to this website, so the info is there. Some of it is not confirmed yet, but we are working on it as fast as we can. After the meeting, the Chief of Police talked to me and said the department wants to be involved in all of it! Another nice woman from Kendall On Hudson (senior citizen assisted living) talked to me too about wanting the seniors to volunteer. I am feeling that all of these events are going to bring the community together like never before. This is so incredible. I know once we open Sleepy Coffee, Too, the support in this community and beyond is going to be mind blowing! The reaction on social media has been phenomenal. I am so happy and feel so blessed.

Huge shout out to: Mayor Wray, Village Manager Anthony Giaccio, Recreation Superintendent Matt Arone, Building Inspector Sean McCarthy and all of the Village Trustees!! Chief Bueti of the police department! Anne White of Kendal on Hudson! My board members and BFF's - Elvira Juarez and Nancy Byrne! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!

Today is a busy day. Got to get ready. I have a zoom meeting with Mark Cronin at 11. He and John sent me two amazing videos to use with the fundraising campaign. Can't wait to post them, along with the fundraising material they supplied us with. Then, Sam and I are visiting Java Love and Coffee for Good and meeting with their owners!

I will report back here at the end of the day to give you an update!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

February 15, 2022 - Over the weekend, I baked some chocolate zucchini breads. I got the recipe from my Mom, who got it from Taste of Home magazine. My Mom loved that magazine. She would buy me a subscription every year for Christmas, which I loved. She was always trying new recipes from that magazine and if she liked it, she would send a copy to me. This particular recipe she sent to me because at the time, we lived in Peekskill. We had a very large vegetable garden which was so amazing. In the summer, I would go out to the garden and pick what we were having for dinner. A garden is such a peaceful, calming place. What fun it is to plant and then watch new life emerge. Everything tastes so much better when it is freshly picked. In Tarrytown where I live now, I have a small garden and most everything is planted in containers. My dream is to have a big garden again. I have the room for it, so maybe that will be a retirement goal - along with all the others! I did drive by my old house the other day because I was in Peekskill for something. It was so weird to drive by it. I actually stopped in front of the house just to take it all in. We lived there for almost 20 years, but as I sat in front of it, I felt like I had never lived there. So strange. I did peek in the back yard, and the garden is still there! That made me feel both happy and sad.

So, getting back to the zucchini, this particular year, we had an abundance of zucchini. I was running out of ways to prepare it. My Mom sent me the recipe for this Chocolate Zucchini bread, which will be on the menu at Sleepy Coffee, Too. The first time I made it, our neighbor was helping us build a new garden shed in the backyard. He was on the roof of this new structure and when I came out of the house and onto the deck with a freshly baked loaf of Chocolate Zucchini bread, the aroma lofting through the air, he jumped off of the roof and came running!! It was hysterical! I will post a picture and the recipe later today. (thanks, John!)

Lots of exciting things happening this week. Yesterday, I had a zoom meeting with my friends from Special Olympics. I will share news about that tomorrow. Tonight, we present to the village board with some ideas that we would like to implement. We might share that later tonight depending on how things go. Tomorrow, I have a zoom meeting with Mark Cronin! So excited! Also, tomorrow, Sam and I will be visiting Java Love and Coffee For Good so that we can get some inspiration and questions answered for the design of the shop. Finally, on Friday is our After Hours crew! By tomorrow, I will share ALL of what is in the works! Just can't do it before we have what we need. Be patient. It's coming! As always, thank you all for your incredible support! We really appreciate it!

OHHHHH, I just participated in my first on-line auction! Thanks Nancy Logan for the head's up!! ! I bought two items - a NEON COFFEE SIGN - so cool! And, three cake display stands with cloches (is that how you spell it? Such a fancy word!) Cake stands might be my new obsession. It was really fun and exciting! I pick up my wins on Thursday!!

February 14, 2022- Happy Valentine's Day! I hope your day is filled with LOVE!!!!!

Over the weekend, a friend of mine wrote something to me on Facebook that I wanted to share with you. Marilyn wrote after reading my post on 2/11, "This shows how a small ripple made by one person can become a giant wave." YES!! This something I want everyone to come away with. We all have the power and the means to make big changes. If you have a dream or passion in your heart, don't ignore it. Listen to it and when you are able or the spirit moves you, GO FOR IT!! I was a teacher for 40 years. Now, I am becoming a business owner/entrepreuner, not because I went back to school and earned another degree, but by jumping in and being fearless because I know it is the right thing to do! And the funny thing is, I am not afraid or nervous or hesitant. It feels right! Whatever I don't know, I will learn. Whomever is supposed to be along with me on the journey, will appear. And the universe will guide me where I need to go and what I am supposed to do. It is a powerful and freeing feeling. It is exciting!

Now, go and have a great day and make your mark, however great or small! And share the love - it's Valentine's Day!

February 11, 2022 - TGIF!!!! It seems like just about every single day, something happens to move the creation of Sleepy Coffee, Too further along. Soon, it will be a reality. I know that I told you that I had some exciting things to share, but I had to wait until next Wednesday to do so. Well, I have decided to give you a little sense of what is coming, but the details will have to wait until next week.

When I was a special education teacher and Special Olympics coach at the high school, I coordinated several awareness days for the school coummunity. I did this for over a decade and these events were extremely successful and loved by the students and staff alike. These events literally changed the culture of the high school. The first event I ever planned was "Spread the Word to End the Word" day. When we had the very first one, the use of the "R" word (retard, retarded) was used quite frequently. That word is extremely offensive to me, my then students and their families. The Spread the Word campaign was used to educate and enlighten others. We set up pledge tables for people to sign a pledge to not use that word. Everyone would get a special sticker to wear after they signed. It was wonderful to see just about every person wearing a sticker by the end of the day. I planned special homerooms that the entire school particpated in, which included some type of activity related to empathy and kindness . My SHADE interns and participants wore special t-shirts that read, "Disable the Label", and we always had an uplifting assembly with a message at the end of the day. Some of those assemblies included, the rock band, Flame, John and Mark Cronin - founders of John's Crazy Socks, Loretta Claiborne - Global Ambassador for Special Olympics ( the year that our Unified Men's Basketball team won the gold medal at World Games in LA - Woo Hoo!!!)and Rick Guidotti - famous fashion photographer who quit that career and changed things up by only photographing people with differing abilities to show how beautiful they are. We even had an exhibit of photographs he professionally took of our own students! The movement has come so far that we don't call the day that name anymore - it is called Spread the Word - Inclusion Day because the R-word is so infrequently used and if it is - there are upstanders who let that person know that using it is unacceptable. If you want to see glimpses of those days, go on the Causes Close to Our Hearts Day page on this website and you will see how magical it was.

From there, we added World Down Syndrome Day and Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness. Those days are some of the best memories I have from teaching at Sleepy Hollow because I could feel how much they brought everyone together for something good. Now that I am retired, I still want to celebrate those days. Instead of at the high school, I want to celebrate them with the community. I want them to be a used as a vehicle in which to spread awareness, inclusion and to also welcome our new business.

So, hopefully after I present our ideas to the Sleepy Hollow Village Board, I will be able to share all of the exciting details with you. There will be ways for the community to particpate and get involved during the month of March!

Today, I received the most wonderful email from Mark Cronin, of John's Crazy Socks. After our conversation the other day, he wrote to me because he wants to help us with our mission. He has some great ideas that I will share soon! I have a zoom call with him next week! So excited!!

We are also in the working stages of launching a GoFund Me page for Sleepy Coffee, Too and a BIG fundraising event in the Spring.

And... there are some things in the works to add Special Olympics training to the After Hours line up.

Tonight - After Hours via zoom with the gang!!

So, there is A LOT to look forward to next week, and in the coming weeks and months. I know I say it a lot, but it is because it is true - all of these things are such a blessing and a sign that what we are doing is the right thing to do.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl! I will probably be watching the Puppy Bowl with Shadow!


February 9, 2022 - Sorry I didn't write a blog post yesterday. I was busy all day planning some upcoming events for Sleepy Coffee, Too and the awareness days that are so important to us all. I will share these with all of you next Wednesday, but until then I can't say what they are. It is something very exciting that you can get involved in, so stay tuned!

I put in the T-shirt order today, along with some other merchandise!!! I also ordered hoodie sweatshirts, and baseball caps! It should all arrive by February 23rd!!!

Guess who called me today? Mark Cronin - Founder of John's Crazy Socks!!!!!! I was blown away! So excited! He is such a nice person, as is the whole Cronin family. We discussed a few ways that we can possibly work together! I will let you know next Wednesday. Mark said he LOVES what we are doing in opening the coffee shop! That meant so much to me!

It has been a GREAT day!

February 7, 2022 - Thank you everyone who sent prayers yesterday. My brother is doing much better and he is going home from the hospital today. What a blessing! Prayer really does work.

You know, you never know when a blessing is going to come along. SInce I have announced Sleepy Coffee, Too, I have been showered with blessings and I am so grateful. This morning another one happened. I opened my front door because I was about to take Shadow out for walk before I went to do some errands. There was a box on my porch. I looked and it was from Maria Filippelli from Ocean City, Maryland. Maria and I worked together for decades at Sleepy Hollow High School. She was the manager of all of the cafeterias in the district. Now, that is a hard job!! She has recently retired, like me. She has always been supportive of all of our awareness days for disabilities and has participated in them, along with her staff. She also helped us host the Pioneer dinner dance two or three times (I forget!) at Sleepy for all of the teams in our league. We even had Flame play!! Everyone says that we had THE BEST dinner dances out of any school!

She sent me two beautiful signs for the shop! How did she know that I loved signs? It is such a thoughtful gift. They will be proudly displayed once we are open!! Thank you Maria!!!!

One of the things I want in the shop is a "Thank You" wall, beautifully painted, with all of the names of people who have supported us in one way or another. I think that would be cool.

Since it is Monday, here is Jess Ekstom's quote for the week:

"We've been told since we were kids, "don't be cocky" or "don't think too highly of yourself". But if you don't wholeheartedly believe in yourself and your abilities, who will?" Love that. I don't think she is saying to be conceited, but you must be the first person to believe in you!

Have a wonderful Monday!!

PS - Another thought - we are going to have impromptu dance parties at the shop. When a certain song begins to play - EVERYONE STOPS AND DANCES - EVEN THE CUSTOMERS!!!! (just for a few minutes!)

February 6, 2022 - I did end up going to check out the guy's shop who was selling his equipment yesterday. Elvira and Susy came along for the ride. When we got there, his shop was closed, but we were able to look through the window. I saw a phone number on the sign on the building, so I called and left a message. He called me back a little later and apologized for leaving early. After speaking to him, I think the pieces I was interested in were bought already. Oh well, other opportunities will come, I am sure.

Since we were already out and pretty close, I took Elvira and Susy to visit my mentor's coffee shop - Java Love Roasting Company in Suffern. We got there close to closing time, but we did have a little time to get coffee and a snack. I was so happy that I was able to share with them where the story of finding my mentor happened. I also bought some coffee to bring home.

And now, I am asking for some prayers from all of you. We found out over the past two days that my brother, Clay and Bob's sister, Holly, are both ill right now. If you could send up some prayers for both of their recoveries, our family would appreciate it.

Have a blessed Sunday and I hope you can spend it with family.


February 5, 2022 - Well, we didn't make the trip upstate after all. In Minerva, where our house is, they had 16 inches of snow and counting! Here in Tarrytown, my Jeep doors are frozen shut and my driveway is still a sheet of ice. So, I guess I am staying put until the temperatures go up a bit and start to melt the ice and we get some salt down!

Lat night ended up being quite busy and eventful. Elvira ended up braving the ice and came to my house for our After Hours zoom meet. We had only three participants show up (Hillary, Nico and David) , but we had a great time, as always. As you all know that I am into celebrating all awareness days that speak to our cause, Hillary asked if there was an awareness day for CP - Cerebral Palsy - which is her differing ability. I looked it up and there are two days!

March 25th is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day and October 6th is Global CP Awareness Day. I added these date to our list of awareness days on the After Hours page and we will be celebrating them, along with all of the others!

The next awareness day coming up is National Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17th. I am thinking about what we could do on that day to promote kindness in the community, since that is the cornerstone of our business, "Sleepy Coffee,Too, where kindness is served one cup at a time." Even though we are not open yet, we could still come up with a way to bring the community together. I was thinking that maybe we could promote it on the Facebook page and have people post what Random Act of Kindness they performed that day. I was also thinking of creating something that I could hand out to all of the businesses in town to put in their shops to remind people to be kind. If you have any ideas, shoot me an email at

I was also surprised with a very special gift last night from my good friend, Ben. When Elvira came over, she presented me with a box and an envelope from Ben. He had sent it to her to give to me, as he lives in Texas.

Ben is my friend who suggested that I make videos of the recipes that will be on our menu. I have done a few, but my set up is not the best as you saw if you watched the video for blueberry muffins, my laptop fell during the video and batter went all over my screen! Although it does make for a good laugh, I am hoping to also use these videos for training, so I have to up my game. Well, Ben sent me a whole kit which includes: microphone, ring light, tripod, 2 different types of phone holders, selfie remote control and lightning to headphone jack. I was overwhelmed with his thoughtfulness and kindness! THANK YOU BEN!!!!

Another friend, Nancy Logan (newly retired special education teacher and fellow Special Olympics fanatic like me), told me of a man who is selling his catering business and has equipment for sale! I had wanted to go and take a look today, but the weather has not cooperated. I am hoping that I can take a look tomorrow and who knows? Maybe I will find some good stuff for the shop!

Well, I had better start planning my next video!!!

Well, that's all for now. Let's see what the rest of the day brings! Be back later for any updates. Enjoy your Saturday!

PS - I just realized there are cards with the gift that Ben sent me. I have to share them!. See above the blog and below and THANKS BEN!!


February 4, 2022 - Happy Snow Day to all of my teacher friends!! A snow day on a Friday is the best!! My family and I were planning to go up to our house in the Adirondacks tomorrow, but just found out they got 15 inches of snow!!! We may still go up if it's not too icy down down here for driving the first leg of the ride. It's a four hour drive. I don't mind all of the snow up there, in fact, I love it. As a child, my family and I would go cross country skiing and snowshoeing and there was always a fire going in the fireplace. The town has even started night ice skating at the rink they have outside down by the beach, so I am bringing my skates if we go!! My mom and I used to ice skate together. Lots of good memories. It is so picturesque! My friends, Patty and Brian, who look after our place up north and plow it for us in the winter (and mow for us the rest of the year) may send some pictures later today. If they do, I will post them.

When I am up north, I am going to look for cool some pieces from the house or barn that I can bring back to add to the decor for Sleepy Coffee, Too. My parents were avid antiquers and that is where I got the bug for antiques and flea markets! Another pastime my mother and I enjoyed together. Don't worry - I'm not bringing any family heirloom pieces, just funky, eclectic stuff.

In the meantime, we should still be having our "After Hours" get together tonight over Zoom with our amazing young people. That's one good thing about Zoom, we can still get together even if the weather is bad. Looking forward to seeing them, along with Elvira, Jessica and Dale.

Oh, by the way, I am trying out a new recipe today for Sleepy Coffee, Too. It is a fusion of my banana bread and chocolate zucchini bread - CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD! What do you think? I will let you know how it turns out!

Stay safe those of you in the New York area - it's icy out there!

February 3, 2002 - I am going to start out with some shout outs this rainy morning!!

Leanne Sullivan made a generous donation to Sleepy Coffee, Too and then she sent another generous donation from her two sons, Robert - Class of 2017 and Kevin -Class of 2021 !! Wow!! So amazing! Kevin was a SHADE intern and I worked with him helping to coach the Pioneer team. What wonderful gestures. It just blows me away! Thank you Sullivan family!!

Jennifer Kelly also sent a generous donation to Sleepy Coffee, Too. I think I know you Jennifer. I think I also know your son who I think went to Sleepy Hollow. The point here is that people I don't know that well are making donations because they believe in the mission and that makes me so grateful. Thank you Jennifer!

My friend from back in our Margaret Chapman School days, Gorete Crowe ordered a Sleepy Coffee, Too t-shirt! Thanks Gorete!

Jacki Geoghegan, my friend from SHHS, (she has the best radio voice!!) is also ordering a t-shirt and making a donation to Sleepy Coffee, Too!! Thanks Jacki!

Hillary Barber for ordering shirts!!! Hillary is part of our After Hours crew!! She has the best smile and gives the best hugs!! Thanks Hillary!

Jacki told me that she is enjoying my blog because she says it feels like we are still keeping in touch through it!! That made my day. When I started it, I didn't know if anyone would read it. I have heard from Jacki and other people like Sara Sampaio, that people are!!! The blog is not only chronicling the journey of starting this business, but it has also served as an outlet for me. I love writing and I don't feel like I am in this by myself anymore - you are all coming along with me!

I am truly thankful everyday for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me and those blessings include all of you!

Have a wonderful day! I will add an update at the end of the day! Shadow just got groomed! I will try to include a pic later if he lets me! He is strutting around acting like he is all that! (well, he is - he had me with those soulful eyes and his cute underbite!)



February 2,2022 OR 2/2/22!! Today is a Palindrome - where all of the numbers read backwards and forwards are the same!! Cool. I heard an idea today that kindergarten teachers should have their classes make a time capsule today (2/2/22) and then open it in their senior year when there will be another Palindrome on 3/3/33. Amazing! It is also Groundhog Day. Did he see his shadow or not! I wasn't paying attention. All I know is that I want it to be SPRING!!!

Today has been productive. This morning at the crack of dawn, Mindy and I were face timing so that she could help me edit the last part of my AARP grant application. She is so talented in the grant writing area. I have learned so much from her. I am waiting for one more piece of information and then I will submit it. Remember - cross everything my friends. This could be so helpful to our start up costs!

I also had lunch with a fellow retiree and former Sleepy Hollow colleague - Janet Longo. She is working on her own big project, so we met and got each other up to speed on what we are both doing. We shared information too. I don't feel at liberty to discuss her project without her OK, but trust me - it is exciting and will also help young people with disabilities. We decided that we will meet once a month for lunch to keep connected.

Oh, and I also deposited a check into Sleepy Coffee, Too, Inc.'s donation account! Exciting!

February 1, 2022 - Wow, it's already February! I can't believe that in a few months, Sleepy Coffee, Too will be up and running! It is very scary starting your own business, but it is also very freeing - going from decades of working for someone else to working for myself. It has caused me to really think about what kind of a leader and employer I want to be. I have worked under all kinds of leaders in my career. Some were wonderful and some were not. Some respected my talent and let me run with new ideas and some made me feel unappreciated, no matter what I did.

When I was teaching, I had a small program staff and I was the lead teacher. I always tried to let them know how much I appreciated them. Let's be honest, without them, there is no way I could have done my job or run such a successful program. They became my second family. I relied on them and tried to give them the opportunity to let their talents and strengths shine. Sometimes, that means giving up a little control., but if you are secure in your own talents then you can let others show what they can bring to the table. With all kinds of personalities, it wasn't always easy - but it was very important to me to create a culture where everyone is heard and everyone's gifts are celebrated. That was also true for my students. I think that is one of the reasons that my students made so much progress - because they knew they were loved, but that also I expected a lot from them because I knew that they could do it and I believed in them. Their independence was my number one priority.

Being a leader doesn't mean that you have to be loud and overbearing and a control freak. Some of the best leaders, in my opinion, lead in a quiet, thoughtful way. They aren't afraid to listen and take suggestions. They can let others take the reigns in certain areas without feeling that they have lost control. They can give credit to others. They can foster the notion of working as a team. When you have a positive environment like that, people want to contribute and work hard because they have ownership of the main goal.

That is the kind of leader and employer I want to be. Since I have let people know what I am doing and have put this business idea out there, I have received so many wonderful ideas and suggestions. I have used many of them, because I know that I don't know everything! I don't know if you noticed, but in my blog I have tried to acknowledge everyone who has helped me on this journey. I know I am behind the last few days in doing that, but so many people have responded that it is hard sometimes to keep up! It is important to acknowledge people and let them know they are appreciated!

Because some of you have shared my website and Facebook page, I am getting contacted from people all over the country who I don't even know, but who believe in the business. That is incredible!

OK - here are my updated shout outs. I hope I don't leave anyone out!!!

Donations: Jennifer Kelly, Lee Anne Sullivan!!

Volunteer sign up: Jackie Geoghegan, Christine Good, Zach Kaczmarek (he better sign up - lol!!)!!

T-shirt orders: Ben Parrilla, Christine More, Leeann Juste, Kristina O'Gorman, Maria Murolo, Camille Acampora, Maria Filippelli, Maria Washburn, Jacki Geoghegan, Nancy Logan!!

Thank you all! My heart is bursting!!!!!!


January 31, 2022, Well, here we are at the last day of January, 2022. It is crazy how fast time is flying. Sometimes I want time to slow down and sometimes I want it to speed up. I want it to slow down because I want to savor this part of my life that I have just begun. I want it to speed up because I can't wait for what is coming next. It is a never ending battle with myself.

I told you a while back that I am writing a book entitled, "Good Morning Ms. K." When I started that process, it was daunting! I discovered an online course called, BookPop Workshop. It is excellent and has helped me with the process and organization that comes with writing a book. Not sure at this point when it will be finished. The teacher is Jess Ekstrom. She wrote a book that I highly recommend called, Chasing The Bright Side. It is all about optimism. She has quite a story to tell for such a young woman and she is an entrepreneur - just like me!

Every Monday morning, she texts all of us students a quote for the week. I really loved today's:

"Remember: our ideas are more like a crock pot, not a microwave. It's not instant, but worth the wait."

First, I love a cooking reference and I love crock pots, but that is not the point. LOL The point is it's hard to wait for what you want, but it is so worth it when you get it. I can really relate this to the journey I am on right now with the creation of Sleepy Coffee, Too. I wish I could blick my eyes and it would be open, all beautiful inside with the smiling faces of my employees and customers and the delicious aroma of our coffee and baked goods. I know we will get there, but sometimes I can't stand waiting!!

This morning, I received good news on that front. My architect, Sam, is measuring the space of our location today in preparation for drawing up the plans! Yay, one step closer!

I also received a video of one of my former students from one of my former colleagues saying hello and that he misses me! Warmed my heart!!!!

Have a great Monday and get your crock pot out!!! (I made pot roast in mine last Saturday!)


PS - I'M GOING BACK TO COLLEGE!! I just registered for two classes at Westchester Community College at night to help me start my business! One is Non Profit 101- Create and Manage a Non Profit (I may be ahead of what they are going to teach, but I'm going to go anyway to see if there is more to learn which I am sure there is and the other course is ServSafe Food Service Sanitation Course that is required by the Board of Health for people who have food and beverage establishments. Woo Hoo, I am excited!!!! As you know, I LOVE SCHOOL!!!

January 30, 2022 - I have a shirt that I wear most Sundays that says, "I love Sundays!" And I do!!! It's the one day of the week that we make the effort for a "sit down together" family dinner. I just made a batch of homemade beef barley soup from the pot roast and "au juice" from last night's dinner. Since we had snow yesterday, I wanted to make a comfort food dinner. Whenever I make pot roast, I always make beef barley soup the next day. It's Zach's favorite! Since it is simmering right now on the stove, I thought I would post a blog entry. After this, I will be making a video of the blueberry muffin doughnut hole recipe that I made yesterday. Yesterday, I made them in a "cake pop" maker. Since most people don't have one of those, I am going to try making them in a mini muffin pan. If we end up putting them on the menu at Sleepy Coffee, Too, , we will need to make a lot at a time and most people don't have the cake pop maker. It did work though, so I will be making some other recipes in it. I also am going to try putting a powdered sugar glaze on the mini muffins today.

I am watching Super Soul Sunday with Oprah. Her guests are Chip and Joanna Gaines from Magnolia Network. I love them. They just made a profound statement. They said that if everything they have went away tomorrow, they would be OK because the blessings they have been given don't belong to them - they belong to God and God has set them up for those blessings . Without getting into anyone's own personal beliefs which I respect, I feel the same way. I believe that this coffee shop, Sleepy Hollow, Too, is part of the plan that has been laid out for my life, just like my teaching career and all that went with it and becoming a mother through adoption. It's not a choice - it's what I am supposed to do. So, I am going to give it my all. Hope that wasn't too deep!

The video for today's recipe, along with the recipe will be posted on the recipe page of the website later today.

Thanks for reading!


January 29, 2022 - Happy Snow Day!!!

Last night, Elvira, Jessica, Dale and I had the BEST zoom meet with our "After Hours" group. All of the young people we invited showed up with BIG smiles on their faces - 7 of them! (Niko, Hillary, Alyssa, Ella, Nythia, Lizzie and David!!) Lizzie was zooming from Virgina and David was zooming from Texas!! You see, it doesn't matter when someone moves away - WE STAY CONNECTED!! We haven't seen each other all together since last June. It was such a wonderful reunion! We had so much fun, that we are going to meet weekly until Sleepy Coffee, Too is open. Then, we will meet a couple of nights at the shop "after hours" to enjoy each others company and do some fun activities together, along with some of our former SHADE interns who are now adults too!Those individuals who have moved will be able to join via Zoom, so no one is left out! We are all about INCLUSION!!!!

After the meet, Dale encouraged me to set up a Facebook page for Sleepy Coffee, Too. So, I did! Immediately, the page got lots of likes!! Thank you all so much! I will be posting more there and PLEASE, let me hear from you!!!

After Zach and I get done shoveling today, I plan to film another video for the recipe page and post the recipe. I will announce when it is ready. The recipe today will be one that I am testing for Sleepy Coffee, Too. It is "blueberry muffin munchies" in the form of a donut hole! Yum! I will be using my cake pop machine to make the donut holes. Let's see if it makes the menu. Until then, stay warm!!!!


So, I did make the blueberry muffin doughnut holes, but I didn't make a video today. I wanted to make a batch first to make sure I knew what I was doing! I will make a video tomorrow. I did post a picture of the finished doughnut holes on the recipe page today. It has been a crazy day with the Facebook page! So many responses! It is great! I didn't anticipate starting to take orders for t-shirts this soon, but Randy's picture got everyone wanting one!! All of this is such a blessing. Thank you all.

January 28,2022 - Good Morning! TGIF!!!

This morning, I want to write about two things.

First, something occurred to me last night that really struck me. As I was giving advice to my son as he was crafting an email applying for an art job, I realized that both of us were preparing to "launch" ourselves - me for the second time with Sleepy Coffee, Too and he for the first time as a recent graduate with his Master's Degree about to begin his teaching career as an art teacher. Both of us is helping the other one. Zach helps me using his expertise with computers with all of the technical things I am learning ( like this website) and I am sharing my experience and wisdom as a seasoned teacher with him. It is such an amazing time for both of us and we are going through it together, supporting each other in a special way. He is always telling me when I hit a glitch, "Mom. you have to learn to do this yourself! What are you going to do when I move out?" I say, "I'll call you!!" What a blessing!!

Second, I am so excited because tonight, Elvira and I have set up a zoom meeting/hangout with all of our "over 21" young adults who used to attend SHADE!!! Jessica and Dale will also be attending! This group of young people will be part of our "After Hours" program once the shop opens, and some of them will also be working at the shop! It will be so great seeing them all again and for them to see each other! The times that we are living in can really cause feelings of isolation and it's extremely important that we find ways to stay CONNECTED!! See, there is that word again! It is so important for all of us! I will be sharing the website with all of them and explaining all of the wonderful things that are coming soon! I am going to be asking some of them to lead activities at After Hours because they have amazing talents and you know, I am always pushing them to step out of their comfort zones and take themselves to the next level! And, we are just going to have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One last thing. This weekend it is supposed to snow quite a bit. You know what that means? BAKING!!!!!!

I am going to try to make a video on Saturday trying out a new recipe for "blueberry muffin munchies" donut holes, using my cake pop machine. I bought this machine at a flea market (love a good flea market!) and I have never used it. So, I'm going to give it a try! If it's good, it might make it to the menu for Sleepy Coffee, Too!! Check it out later this weekend on the Recipe page.

Have a wonderful Friday and make sure you get "the bread and milk" before the storm!!


January 27, 2022- Look up!!! That is a mug that my friend, Dale Haas had made for me!! I love it! I am drinking my morning coffee in it this morning! I have two grants due tomorrow. One is a letter of intent for The Westchester Community Foundation. If they like our idea, they will invite me to submit a proposal for a grant in March. If they award a grant to us, it will be announced in July. Fingers crossed! The other is a grant for The Rotary Club. If awarded, it will be announced in late February. Toes crossed!! (Is that possible?)

I am also working on a grant through AARP - I guess it pays to get older! This grant was supposed to be due in January, but they extended the deadline until the end of February! I have it completed, I am just editing it now with the help of Mindy Cohen. Thanks Mindy!!!

These grants will help us with our initial start up costs. They will be of major help in getting the business up and running. Our first year, we have one time big purchase costs of the build out of the location, our equipment and the decor for the coffee shop. Once those items are complete, our expenses will be less. So, KEEP EVERYTHING CROSSED!!

I will be writing more grants as time goes on. It will be a continual process. I would love to have a grants committee, so if you have expertise in that area, please let me know ASAP! I know Mindy will be a part of that!

A big shout out to Bonnie Berry!! She is the first person to fill out a volunteer contact form! Bonnie has a lot of talents including, but not limited to: event planning and administrative tasks - plus she is very entertaining! I am thrilled that she wants to help out. I know first hand her talents in these areas because we worked and coached together at Sleepy Hollow, and she is a great friend!. Twice, we hosted the Hudson Valley Special Olympics Regional Spring Games, a track and field event at Sleepy Hollow High School (2013 and 2014). Bonnie and I were the event coordinators. We hosted over a thousand special athletes, coaches, families, teachers, staff, and community members to our events. They were EPIC!! These events really brought the whole community together, just like Sleepy Coffee, Too will! We also coached the Pioneer team together for many years. She is a very detailed oriented person and a phenomenal multi-tasker! Yay Bonnie!!!!! (I call her Yo Miss)

Another shout to Ben Parrilla!! Ben was the first person to make a donation on our donation page!! Thank you so much Ben for your generous donation and for being such a great friend with excellent ideas!!

Another shout out to Sarah Alfonso!! Sarah made a brilliant suggestion to include Spanish translation on the site. She is going to work on that for us!! Thank you Sarah!

January 26,2022 - WOW!!!!! I launched this website on my personal Facebook page yesterday and WOW, what a positive response!!! I was so afraid, but shouldn't have been. This community is so wonderful and so supportive! It feels so freeing to finally have it out there and to know that people are really behind the idea. Can't wait for the next part of the journey!!

As the day has gone on, there have been so many more posts, emails, texts and phone calls regarding Sleepy Coffee, Too! I even got contacted from Grubhub telling me that there were people requesting our menu!! I had to tell them that we are not open yet!! I think that is a good sign!! I am just in awe of the response. I feel so blessed. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

January 25, 2022 - Happy Birthday Elvira!

Well, I made the decision to share this website on Facebook today. I will be posting there shortly to tell people about Sleepy Coffee, Too, Inc. I am a little nervous, but I feel the time has come to share it out. Let's put this good news out there into the world and see the blessings that come from it!!! Fingers crossed! Kim

January 24, 2022 - Happy Monday!! Today, I posted the recipe for Apple Cider Doughnut Cake on the recipe page. I will be posting the video to go along with it hopefully later today, using my computer instead of my phone.

This is a recipe I stumbled upon, but it is a favorite of my friends and family and I know it will be a hit on the menu at Sleepy Coffee, Too.

Here is a funny story about this cake. During the pandemic when I was still teaching, I would bake for my staff every Friday. I did this because we were all a very "huggy" group. When the pandemic hit, we couldn't give each other the daily morning and afternoon hugs like we did during normal times. Since I loved to bake, I decided that my baked goods would serve as the hugs I couldn't give. It became a beloved new tradition and it sparked my love of baking again. Each week, I would try out new recipes on them or bring in requested favorites. I think the universe was working its magic then to remind me how much I loved to bake and to share as a form of love. It was preparing me for Sleepy Coffee, Too and I didn't even know it at the time. Looking back, I can now see that this was preparation for what was to come.

The first and literally every time I baked this cake, my friend and then teaching assistant, Elvira, would need some "alone time" with her slice. She loved it so much that it was hard for her to contain herself! We all got a good laugh over it.

Well, tomorrow is her birthday, so I am baking this cake for her today. I hope she doesn't check this blog before I surprise her later today!

See you later on the video!


1/22/22 - A big shout out to Randy Kraft!!!!! I received a donation from him today in the mail - our first one for Sleepy Coffee, Too!!!!!


For those of you who don't know, Randy was the PPS Director for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns and hired me in 1986 as a leave replacement teacher at Sleepy Hollow HIgh School! 35 years later and the rest is history!!!! BEST BOSS AND FRIEND EVER!!!

Also, check out the "Causes Close To Our Hearts" page. I posted videos of our friends, Flame, the band, performing at our Spread the Word Day events and I also posted a video of our own Ella Manfredi introducing John and Mark Cronin last year, as well as a recent TedTalk that John and Mark did about hiring people with "differing abilities". It is excellent.

I also received an email today from my friends at Java Love checking in on our progress! I had lots to tell them!!!



1/21/22 - Just got a call from my architect, Sam! We went over all of the initial details for the project. We will be starting to get things moving next week in terms of the plans for the space! I am so excited!!!! He is donating his time because he believes in the project!!! I am so grateful.

The rest of my day went great! A productive phone call with Effie from The Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, another exciting phone meeting with Frances regarding a spring fundraiser and a call from the "Professional Who's Who" wanting my biography for their publication! I was in the Who's Who when I was in high school too!

I feel like I accomplished a lot today!





January 20, 2022 - Today, I participated in a virtual webinar called "Pathways To Employment" sponsored by Autism Speaks.

It was very informative and I took away a lot of great information and made a lot of connections. (There is that word again!)

Two connections I have already made were there as part of the Expo - Rising Above Bakery and Spectrum Designs! Next year, Sleepy Coffee, Too will be represented there!!

Here are some important statistics that you may not be aware of:

1 in 44 children are on the autism spectrum.

1 in 45 adults are on the autism spectrum.

There are 700 million people worldwide that are on the autism spectrum.

100, 000 individuals on the spectrum graduate from high school each year.

One half of 25 year olds on the spectrum have never been employed.

80% of people on the spectrum live with their aging parents.

80% of people with disabilities, in general, are unemployed.


What makes a welcoming workplace? It is :

  • Inclusive

  • Supportive

  • Flexible

  • Being a Community Leader, showing other businesses the way

You need to embrace a culture of acceptance, by fostering relationships and building a team. People know it when they enter your business. I KNOW that Sleepy Coffee, Too will be this kind of place, because this is exactly what we created at Sleepy Hollow High School, we changed the culture of the school!

January 15, 2022 - This is my first blog on my new website for Sleepy Coffee, Too!!!! Thank you Zach (my amazing artist/teacher son!) for all of your help!

My name is Kim Kaczmarek. I am a newly retired special education teacher and Special Olympics coach of 40 years, 35 of those years spent at Sleepy Hollow High School in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Yes, Sleepy Hollow really does exist! Our mascot is the Headless Horseman and we are surrounded by the folklore of the famous tale, including the home of its author, Washington Irving and his home - Sunnyside. October in Sleepy Hollow is a destination for the fall and especially, Halloween!

In my retirement, I have founded a non profit business in the form of a coffee shop. It is not open yet, but hopefully it will be in late summer of 2022. This will not be your ordinary coffee shop. It will be run by amazing individuals that are my former students and who just happen to have a disability - or "differing abilities" as I like to say.

Here, I will document my journey to open Sleepy Coffee, Too.!

You might be wondering about the name, "Sleepy Coffee, Too". Where did it come from and what does it mean? Well, before there was a Sleepy Coffee, Too, there was the original, Sleepy Coffee. The following is a piece that I wrote in 2019 for The Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns. That year, the Foundation was honoring teachers that had been in the district for 25 years or more for their 25th anniversary. I was one of the teachers being honored and so was Sleepy Coffee, as an innovative project in the district.

Read the article to give you the backstory of how we got to where we are today! Enjoy!

PS - The picture above is the day we received our beloved cart!!!

The Legend of Sleepy Coffee


Kim Kaczmarek

January, 2019

Sleepy Coffee was born out of a simple idea, but as you will see, it has become a treasured institution in the high school and in the district.

It all started when I wanted to add another component to the Experiential Learning Program at Sleepy Hollow High School that would enable all of my students to participate in a business on some level. I planned to imbed this business into my life skills program through academic and vocational instruction. I also wanted us to be able to raise funds to put back into the business so that we could be self sufficient. We also wanted to use some of these funds to take field trips and other activities as part of the program. Additionally, we would use some of the funds to donate to various charities. My plan was to start a small business with my students during summer school in 2016. After years of working at a summer camp with SOME of my students as interns, I wanted to bring back a summer school program to the district for ALL of my students.

At the time, my mother was very ill. I had been making frequent trips to the Adirondacks during that school year to assist and support my parents during my mother's illness. My plans drastically changed that summer in that I literally moved to upstate New York to be with my parents and take care of my mother at home with hospice during her last days. It was clear that I would not be able to teach summer school that summer, but I was where I was supposed to be at the time and even though it was the hardest thing I had ever done, I wouldn't have traded it for anything as it enabled me to spend precious time with my parents.

I called upon a special education colleague of mine, Keith Lenn, to see if he would take over the program that summer. He agreed. I shared with him my vision for the summer in terms of a business. Keith, my teaching assistant Elvira Juarez, and my students brainstormed and came up with the idea for a coffee business. One of my students at the time, Nythia Shibuya, came up with the name of the business, Sleepy Coffee. Keith and the kids created a power point presentation and called upon the administration to pitch their idea. It was warmly received and the first phase of Sleepy Coffee was born.

During the summer of 2016, Keith and Elvira taught the students how to make coffee and make brownies. Using his own money, Keith purchased a few supplies to get the business off the ground. They would make the coffee and brownies and then using large shopping bags and an audio visual cart, would make their way over to the administration building daily to sell their coffee. All of the administrators supported Sleepy Coffee and an added benefit was that they also got to know my students quite well! I was so proud of the job they had all done that summer!

Sadly, my mother passed away at the end of August. After an emotional summer, I returned to school a few days after school had begun. Before long, we were back in the routine of the school year. I had wanted to keep the momentum of Sleepy Coffee going, so we continued what the students had started and resumed selling our coffee at the administration building every afternoon during Project YOU, our work study program.

While on a visit to my Dad after my Mom's passing one weekend, we came upon a closet in their garage that was like finding treasure. My Mom had been an avid community volunteer and was usually in charge of the refreshments for events. There in the closet were multiple large coffee pots, carafes, paper goods, cake stands, table cloths and numerous other things that would enhance our business. It was like she was there, guiding us. We still use this equipment today! In the house, we found that she had multiple cans of coins. Being a child of the Great Depression, her frugal ways were always a part of her. We decided that all of this change could be used to help fund the business. As it turns out, after the students and I rolling all of those coins, we ended up with about $300.00!

It was quite an effort to get all of the supplies and the students over to the administration building. We would have to travel by walking from the high school through the middle school, down the elevator and outside to the administration building. When we would be traveling, many students and teachers would ask if we could sell to them. At that time, we did not yet have permission to sell to the students because we had to come up with a plan to follow the healthy snack guidelines. However, we could sell to the high school staff. It was then that Jean O'Brien assisted us in creating “on-line” ordering forms for staff and we began to take daily orders from staff and deliver to them during Project YOU.

As the year went on, the popularity of our business grew. I decided to apply for a Foundation teacher grant to hopefully help us take our business to the next level. We had researched the type of beverages and snacks that would be acceptable to sell to students as well as staff and this would be our next phase. We were awarded a Foundation grant and were thrilled that we would be able to use this to expand our growing business. In our grant, we had a described wanting to use part of the funds for a mobile cart, along with supplies needed to make our beverages and purchase healthy snacks.

The Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns has always been a supporter of our program. Over the years, they have helped us with Marybeth's Miracles organic vegetable garden project, a school store project, and our life skills apartment – just to name a few. We were and are so grateful to them for their support.

The end of the school year was coming to a close and we planned to use the funds from the Foundation grant to get ready for the following school year. Completely unknown to us, there was a movement going on underground in the high school. The Makers Club, of which Mary Rosenberg is the adviser, had also received a grant from The Foundation. They were charged with coming up with an idea to design and build something that would serve the school community in a positive way. They decided to design and build a mobile cart that could be used by my students for our business. There had been a design contest in which 50 students had entered. The final design was a compilation of two of the top designs. With help from our district carpenter, Bruce Diggle, the students built an amazing, gorgeous cart, complete with display case, lights and locking wheels.

Here is the story of the cart from the point of view of Mary Rosenberg, adviser to the Maker’s Club:

During a STEAM committee initiative, the Foundation had received a grant for a STEAM-driven project, which was awarded to Mary Rosenberg, the Sleepy Hollow High School art teacher. In order to design a project that touched upon each subject in STEAM, respectively, science, technology, engineering, art and math, Ms. Rosenberg decided to let the students choose a project that would impact the school community at large. The Sleepy Hollow Maker's Club, inspired by the maker art movement, is a club to promote innovation and collaboration using technology. Students ran at the opportunity, and as a club concluded that they did not want to see Sleepy Coffee students and teachers hauling supplies in bags, and old projector carts. As a Sleepy Hollow community, we could do better!

Students from the Maker Club, and the Design and Drawing for Production art course, entered a design competition, using CAD software, to design an innovative kiosk that would fit the needs of all of the present and future needs of Sleepy Coffee. Students had to consider the impact of weight, size, and overall aesthetics while entering their designs. Ultimately, the students voted on the top 10 designs, and teachers voted on the final winner.

The winning design was a hybrid of two student designs, and Maker Club took the lead in creating a schematic design. Multiple students worked for a month and a half after school to build and paint the cart, along with Bruce Diggle, Sleepy Hollow Carpenter. Mr. Diggle consulted with Maker Club, helped with the design, and took a lead on hauling and cutting the wood. Students from all over, not just Maker Club, would stop in and volunteer for a few minutes just to lend a helping hand.

On a June afternoon, wearing my “count your blessings” shirt, I was called down to Mary's art room for an unspecified reason. I remember walking there thinking what could this be about? When I entered her room, there was a group of students greeting me shouting, “Surprise!!” There in front of them was this amazing cart. I wasn't quite sure at first what was going on. Then, they excitedly explained to me that they had built this for us. I was overwhelmed. I couldn't believe that all of this had been going on without us knowing. I realized that students had been watching us and realized that what we were doing was valuable and that they wanted to help us be successful. This truly was a blessing! It affirmed even more clearly why I love this school and why I have been here as long as I have. It is the culture of our school and our district. It is the love and acceptance. It is the celebration of differences. It is the common knowledge that there is value in every one of us.

This cart was a game changer for us.

During that summer, our entire program changed for the better. We revamped our schedule to a rotation model so that we could incorporate Sleepy Coffee prep work and cart operation into our academic blocks, along with direct instruction, technology, and independent work.

We had our cart. We had purchased the necessary supplies we needed to expand our offerings thanks to the Foundation. We would be able to begin selling to students. We created a business plan. We created positions that didn't exist before.

During Project YOU, the students wrote resumes. They completed Sleepy Coffee job applications for specific jobs. We created training stations. Students interviewed for their desired position and then went through training before they would be allowed to hold that position. Training included customer service, stocking, cashier, advertising, public relations, finance, marketing and data entry.

Daily prep work was embedded into our ELA classes including coffee and hot water preparation, daily baking, stocking the cart and daily parchment cup assembly for our baked goods.

Daily operation of the cart was embedded into our math classes in which students served as cashiers, servers and data collectors on our sales and inventory. Daily reconciling of the cash register and daily deposit slips for the business office were completed.

We also made monthly trips to Sam's Club to purchase needed supplies to replenish our inventory.

Early in the school year, we were approached by Dr. Smith and Mr. Baxter. They explained to us that there was a need in the building. Many juniors and seniors were free during period 4 and spent that time in the junior/senior lounge. The students were not allowed to leave campus during that time to get coffee or snacks. This was also a time when the cafeteria was not yet opened. They asked if we would fill that need by opening up Sleepy Coffee in the main lobby of the high school daily from 10:30 – 11:00. We eagerly said YES!!!

And so, this is presently where we are in our journey. For the past two years, we have been a focal point most mornings in the lobby of the high school. We have a line waiting for us when we emerge from the elevator every day and we have many regular customers – both students and staff. Our home made brownies sell out in minutes!

For me, however, the best part of all of this is to witness the kindness and admiration that the students of Sleepy Hollow High School shower my students with every day. To see the relationships that have developed through this coffee cart are priceless. Students have gotten to know each other in a positive way and that could not have happened without this experience. It has given my students the feeling that they are important and they are respected. The progress that they have made in terms of communication, social skills, life skills, academic skills and vocational skills is astounding.

We were even mentioned at graduation last year in the Salutatorian's speech – now that is cool!! Graduating seniors have told us countless times that Sleepy Coffee will be one of the things they will miss about our school.

Currently, we are having a design contest in Mary's art classes to design a logo for Sleepy Coffee. We will use this logo to expand our inventory to mugs, t-shirts and who knows what else! The winner of the design contest will win a free year of Sleepy Coffee!

Thank you for reading our story and we hope that you too will visit us. I think Mom would be proud. I know Dad is!!Just remember to come early if you want a brownie!!

Thank you to the following for making Sleepy Coffee such a success! The Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, The Maker’s Club: Adviser - Mary Rosenberg, Special Education Teacher’s and Staff - Keith Lenn, Elvira Juarez, David Benedict, Jr., Griselda Berenguer, Susan Rucano, Belkis Lantigua, and Mayra Montero

Project YOU students and Sleepy Coffee Employees:

Cashiers – Joe Guaba, David Barriga

Servers – Rahinelka Rodriguez, Alyssa Di Carlo, Ella Manfredi, Ethan Spann, Edwin Xelo, Ramon Sanchez

Data Collectors – Lizzie Lamb, Justin De Jesus, Bryan Ribeiro

Barista Assistant – William Remache

Peer Job Coaches – Joe Guaba, William Remache, Bryan Ribeiro

And me, Kim Kaczmarek

And a special thanks to my parents, John and Wanda Callihan, whose support has meant the world to me!!

“Wake up and smell the Sleepy Coffee!” Check out this video about the original Sleepy Coffee!

Well, that is how it all started.

One of the reasons I decided to retire was that I was watching my students graduate at the age of 21 from my program, but there were not any real opportunities for them in the adult world. I decided to take the concept of Sleepy Coffee and bring it into the community as a real business that would both train and employ these young people.

Thus, the birth of Sleepy Coffee, Too! I hope you get the play on words with the word, "too". I didn't want it to be just number two, but TOO, as in also!

More to come!!


The Legend of Sleepy Coffee, Too


  • Find Your Calling.

  • Follow Your Passion

  • Forge Your Change.

January 16, 2022 - Now that you know the back story, I want to get you up to date on what has happened so far in this journey to open Sleepy Coffee, Too. It is said that we are all connected in some way. I have always believed that, but never more than on this journey. I truly believe that if you put good out into the universe, manifest it with good intent and pay close attention to what is happening to you in the present moment, your dreams will come true and become a reality. Such is the case with Sleepy Coffee, Too.

The summer of 2021 was very difficult for me. I had retired from a job and career that was, what I believe, my calling and that I loved. I wondered if I had made the right decision. I was very depressed for awhile. Some events had happened when I left that made me feel unappreciated after all the years that I had been in the district, and I decided it was time to make a clean break. For a few weeks, I allowed myself to wallow in my sadness, but at the end of August, after throwing myself an epic retirement party at the Bear Mountain Carousel, I said to myself that that was enough and I threw myself into creating this business. Although I didn't like the way it happened, it was probably for the best in that it gave me the time and motivation to fully immerse myself into the creation of Sleepy Coffee, Too.

From that point, I really haven't looked back - only forward.

My guiding principle: FIND JOY IN YOUR JOURNEY!

Almost every person that I have come in contact with regarding this business has taken me to the next level of where I needed to be. It can only be explained as the universe working its magic, with a little help from my Mom and Dad in heaven. Let me tell you how it all has happened.

First and foremost is my family, Bob and Zach. They know me to have had a lot of what seemed like crazy ideas throughout my career, but these ideas have always been successful. So, they are used to this. They have been behind me from day one, have been a sounding board and have kept me grounded (ha,ha - get the coffee reference? Grounded!). I am so thankful for their constant support.

I started out researching and/or visiting as many other coffee houses with the same intent as I could. I would observe what they had created and if I was there in person, I would speak to the managers and ask LOTS of questions. Those managers became some of my early mentors, people like Deb Rogan from Coffee for Good in Greenwich, Ct. , and JoAnn Adams from Bogart's Coffee House in Seal Beach, CA - who is one of my oldest friends from childhood AND her brother, Adam, is the reason I became a special education teacher. (That is a story for another day!). I also researched Bitty and Beau's, The Compassion Cafe, Esteamed Cafe and others.

I also have a couple of other mentors through agencies that help people starting small businesses. One of those agencies is SCORE and the other is the New York State Small Business Development Counsel. Andrea Giraldo is my mentor.

Next, I set out to write my business plan and get the necessary paperwork going to create a non profit (501c3). I discovered the site, Live Plan, and used it to create my business plan. I used Legal Zoom to assist me in filing all of the necessary forms to officially create my business. I trademarked the name "Sleepy Coffee, Too", filed with New York State as a non profit corporation, chose the initial members of my Board (Elvira Juarez, Jessica Moore, Nancy Byrne and Susan Steinberg) and obtained my EIN number with the IRS. All of this was complete by September 23, 2021. I couldn't believe how fast it all was happening. When the beautiful, official binder arrived from Legal Zoom with all of my official documents, I was ecstatic!

I then created our logo and slogan, "Sleepy Coffee, Too - where kindness is served one cup at a time". I had asked Zach to help me with the logo and he had said yes. But, before that happened, I started playing around with it one day and came up with it on my own! I am so proud of the way it came out, if I do say so myself! It's simple and kind of retro - just what I wanted!

Next, I went to set up my business bank account. I went to my local CHASE bank and met Margot Tubul and Maydenise Santiago. They have been wonderful in helping to get me set up for business. Margot asked me one day if I had chosen my roaster who would provide the coffee beans for my business. I said no, and then she told me of a place near where she lived in Suffern, New York, called Java Love Roasting Company. When I left the bank that day, after setting up my business account for Sleepy Coffee, Too, I said to myself, "Why not go check this place out now? After all, its right over the bridge, (Tappan Zee - never Mario Cuomo!) and I AM RETIRED! I can do whatever I want whenever I want!

So, I put the name in my GPS, and drove my Jeep across the bridge to check it out. I easily found Java Love and walked in. It is a very inviting place. I decided to first check out the coffee and get a feel for the place. I got my coffee and a muffin and sat at the window seat, observing. On one side of the shop, there is the actual roaster whom you can watch! On the other side are the tables and the counter. Lots of people were sitting, enjoying their coffee and treats and talking or working on their lap tops. The coffee and muffin were delicious. It had a very warm and welcoming vibe.

When I was finished, I went back to the counter and asked if I could speak to the owner or manager. I told the young lady that everything was great and that I had something else I wanted to talk to them about. She said sure and went to get Kristine Petrik, one of the owners. Kristine welcomed me and took me into her office, which was a former bank vault, as Java Love is in what used to be a bank.

I introduced myself and explained to her what I was trying to create and that I was given her name by one of her customers.

She looked at me and smiled. First, she said, I want to thank you for being a special education teacher for all of those years. Second, she said, we have just helped launch another coffee shop just like the one you are hoping to open in New Jersey called, Ethan and the Bean. We would love to not only help supply you with your beans, but also with training your staff, connecting you with equipment distributors and other providers and mentoring you until you launch. We will even help you develop your own signature blend of coffee for your shop. When I asked her why she would do all of these things for me, she said it was just the right thing to do and they are all about giving back.


This was the break I had wished for!

A mentor beyond my wildest dreams - because of a conversation with Margot.

I eventually met with Java Love's other owner, Jodie Dawson, a few weeks later. She was a wealth of knowledge. She gave me contact info for the equipment distributor, John Gillesheimer from Action Coffee, the founder of Ethan and the Bean, Pam Donovan, and the owner of Superfine Social, Danielle Gaebel, a website designer. She showed me around her shop to look at the various equipment I should consider buying for my shop. She was the one who also told me that she thought I would open earlier than I thought because of how quickly things were moving!

Of course, after that meeting, my Jeep and I took a ride to check out Ethan and the Bean! Its a cute shop with delicious (Java Love) coffee and great people! I have yet to connect with Pam, the owner, but I am working on it. She started the business for her son, who has autism and employs other individuals with special needs.

A little while later, my friend Nancy Byrne sent me an article that had been in the Journal News, a local newspaper. It was an article about a baker named Shiri Reuveni-Ullrich who started Rising Above Bakery in New Jersey. She runs her bakery as a "cottage bakery" from her dining room which she converted to a bakery and she employs young people with disabilities as bakers. Well, you already probably know what I did. I emailed her immediately. She got right back to me and we made plans to meet. Unfortunately, COVID, the holidays and just plain life got in the way of us meeting until a week or so ago. We met over a Zoom call, as I had planned to go to see her and her bakery, but the weather didn't cooperate. We had an amazing meeting and discovered we were kindred spirits. She said to me, "Where have you been all my life?" We are going to keep in touch and figure out some way in the future to collaborate.

A new friendship and collaboration - because of an article that Nancy sent to me.

Around the same time, I had wanted to find a local realtor just to see what was out there as far as possible locations for the shop. I called Marianne Le Pore, a local realtor - but also the mother of one of my previous students. She was totally on board with my idea and very excited. We made plans to meet for lunch on a Saturday to talk and then take a walk around Sleepy Hollow to look for possible prospects. At the end of our walk, I said to her - "See that shop across the street? One of my former students owns it. She probably knows what's going on". Marianne and I decided to go check it out.

We walked in the door and there was Waleska Martinez, my former student from my first lifetime at Sleepy Hollow High School. She was so excited to see me and meet Marianne. I told her what I was planning to do. Waleska was thrilled to hear this news. She told me about the property right next door to her. It is a warehouse that has been vacant for a few years. She gave me the contact info for the owner, who she knew very well. I looked through the window and saw a wide open space. I thought to myself that this could work. It was in a great location and this area is going through a revitalization. I went home and got right on the phone to the owner, John Manuele.

John didn't answer, so I left a message. A few days later, he called me back. We hit it off right away over the phone. Come to find out, he had owned a coffee shop in the town where I grew up - Briarcliff Manor years ago! He knew all about opening a coffee shop and loved my idea! He quoted me the cost of the rent and it was something that I could afford. We made plans to meet and look at the sight a few days later.

On the day I was going to check out the possible site for Sleepy Coffee, Too, I asked my contractor, Diego Portilla, to join me. We walked into the space and I could immediately visualize the shop. I could see an industrial design with exposed pipes and reclaimed wood, but also warm and welcoming. You know how you just know sometimes? That has happened with me a lot over the years. I could tell that Diego felt the same way. He even called his project manager, Chris, to come over and look at it. We all agreed that this could be THE SPACE! The next step was to get an architect in to take a look.

A location - all because I stopped into Waleska's store!

Marianne had also suggested that I find an attorney to work with me. Even though I used Legal Zoom, they are not attorneys, so you should always have an attorney look over your paperwork. She suggested Andres Valdespino. I knew the name because his children went to Sleepy Hollow and he had been active in many initiatives in the district. I gave Andres a call. He looked over all of my paperwork and said it all looked great. He is now my attorney going forward.

An attorney - because of a conversation with Marianne.

Around Thanksgiving, JoAnn Adams and her husband, Bud were visiting from California. They are the owners of Bogart's Coffee House in Seal Beach, California. We met for dinner one night and she gave me such great advice, as she and Bud have owned a successful coffee house for years. She will continue to be a valuable resource for me ( and will remain a valuable friend as well!)

At the advice of a friend, Cathy Chulla, I contacted Sam Viera, a local and well respected architect. Sam is the husband of Jennica Viera, a former colleague of mine from the middle school. Sam and I made plans to meet at the location and take a look. Sam also had positive feelings about the space. He said that he would like to work with me, as this was a very special project.

An architect - all because I spoke to Cathy at a craft fair! (I also had her design Christmas tree ornaments that say "Sleepy Coffee, Too on them!)

We decided that our next move should be to set up a meeting with the village building inspector to share the idea and find out exactly what we needed to do to get all of the approvals and permits necessary to move ahead. I called the inspectors office and made an appointment for the following week.

I was so nervous about our meeting with the building inspector, Sean McCarthy, but needn't have been. When Sam, Diego and I met with him, he immediately said right from the beginning that he was aware of the project and that he was completely behind it. What a relief! I think two of his colleagues that I had been in contact with, Anthony Giaccio - Village Manager and Matt Arone - Recreation Superintendent had spoken to him - which was fine with me! (Bob's suggestion, by the way, for me to get in touch with them!)Thank you Anthony, Matt and Sean for being so supportive of this idea!! It means a lot to have the Village behind us!

In the meantime, I had planned a holiday get together for the families of the young people I hoped would work with me and all of the people mentioned here at my house so that I could explain the project in detail, answer any questions and for them to all meet each other, as they would be seeing each other. I call them, "My Village. "

I had also sent a letter, and made some phone calls and home visits to the families of my prospective employees to get an idea who was on board before the party. The reaction of the families was priceless. They were all so excited about the prospects of their adult child having a place to work that was meaningful and with people that they knew and loved. Some of them cried. Then I cried. We were all crying!

I spent the next few weeks getting my house ready for the party. I was baking every day because I wanted them to all try most of the items that would be on the menu. I baked banana bread with and without chocolate chips, chocolate zucchini bread with and without chocolate chips, pumpkin bread, pecan pie, Nana's crumb pie, apple cider doughnut cake and blueberry almond croissant bake, I decorated and set up my beautiful basement that Diego and his crew renovated for me a year or so ago. I got coffee and tea from Java Love for guests to try (and also some wine and other munchies!!). It was around the holidays, so decorating was easy and fun!! I had sample t-shirts made with our logo on them (thanks Spectrum Designs)and Christmas tree ornaments that said Sleepy Coffee, Too on them. (Thanks Cathy Chulla and MacArthur Designs)

On the night of December 17th, I had a house full of the people of "my village" at my home to celebrate, get to know each other, sample food and drink and find out more about Sleepy Coffee, Too. We have committees now forming for the different areas of the business, because I can't do everything myself. I need help! It was a wonderful get together. My former students were so excited!! I truly felt that we were on our way. I felt such gratitude that I get another chance to work with these amazing young people. I felt so proud that we were going to create a model of inclusion and to bring something so meaningful to our town. I am so excited that it is hard to contain myself!

Can't wait to work with: Justin, Jacob, Susy, Ella, Alyssa, Nythia, Molly, John and Steven!

And thank you to all of my prospective employee's families for being on board!

With the holidays over, I am just waiting to hear back from Sam, my architect, with plans for our space. From there, we will begin the process of applications, permits, and public hearings. When that is all said and done, Diego and his crew will be able to start the build out.

I have also been working on writing and submitting grants that will help to fund the business, as well as fundraising plans for the Spring. The grants just seem to fall into my lap! Thank you Mindy Cohen for editing my grants. Thank you Mindy Cohen, Randy Kraft and Sue Davis for your letters of reference. Thank you Bob Kaczmarek for nominating me for a grant. Thank you Frances Manfredi for taking the lead with fundraising.

Lastly for now, just two days ago, Zach helped me set up this website. I am so proud of the way it came out. I think you can see that this blogging may be my new thing as you see the length of my blogs, but I have so much to say and I think ours is a story worth telling! Thank you to my circle of wonderful girlfriends for editing this website - Elvira, Jessica, Nancy, Mindy, Sue S. and Sue D.

Lots of exciting things ahead!! I will be documenting all of it every step of the way, including pictures once the build out begins!!

And I will continue to look for the next connection!

More to come!


January 17, 2022 - Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of hanging out with some dear friends. On Friday night, Elvira, Ben, Jessica and Lloyd stopped by. I hadn't seen any of them in quite a while. I was so excited because Zach and I had just finished the bare bones of this website! I couldn't wait to show them! They were so excited that they clapped!! One of the friends, Ben, was visiting from Texas! I met him through Elvira. He is a very wise and thoughtful person. He suggested that I should make some videos of me while I am baking and put them on the website! I hadn't thought of that!

(Just a side note - On Saturday night Elvira, Ben and Sue S. and I went to see our teacher band friends of Losing Our Faculties play! They were great and surprised to see us! They played at my school retirement party last June and we are kind of like groupies - lol)

So today, I was planning to make some banana bread. When I went into the kitchen to get started, I thought, why not give the filming a try! So, I set up my phone on something on the counter and did a test. It worked, but I looked terrible! So, I went and put a bit of makeup on - something I don't wear much at all since I retired. I did another test. It was better. Ok - I guess I can deal with that.

So, I filmed my first recipe. I had to do it in three or four segments, but it came out OK, although there are some bloopers! Zach is going to help me edit it and then we will put it on the website. He is also going to help me figure out better angels to film so that the viewer can see more of what I am doing. I felt pretty comfortable. It was like teaching a lesson to my students or talking to a friend.

I also added a new page to the website for recipes. I posted my recipe for banana bread on there and will be posting other recipes of mine as time goes on.



January 18, 2022 - I still have to work on getting the employee application for my trainees, the volunteer application and the donation system set up on the website. I will be working on those next. I think after I finish those tasks, I may announce this website publically. That is kind of scary for me. I have been guarded about giving out too much information about this business until I was ready. I know there are so many people pulling for me to make this business a success and I feel the pressure of that. I want to make them and myself proud. I also feel there are some people out there that would love to see me fail, but that is not happening! Even if I have a set back, as I am sure I will at some point, I will just get back up, pivot and figure out another way to go. That is what I have done my whole life when faced with adversity. I guess it is my Irish Callihan spirit! As my Dad used to say, "Kimmy, get your Irish up!".

So, I just wanted to let you know a few things about me. My family and my true friends are the most important things to me. Things I am obsessed with when I am not teaching or coaching (past) or working on this business (present): my dog, Shadow, my firecracker red Jeep (who my friend Elvira named Miss Wanda, after my mom), sitting around the fire pit with my besties, long walks in nature, gardening, mason jar anything, "temptations pottery" - (old world black pattern), antiques, flea markets, baking, writing, Christmas, decorating in general, inspirational quotes that speak to me on ANYTHING, and my farm in the Adirondacks Mountains of upstate New York named "Puddin Hollow Farm - Circa 1855. Did I mention my dog?

Music? Best band of all time - Little Feat. My present obsession - Dave Matthews Band. Of course, Bon Jovi because JBJ has a similar mission and I have visited his Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ- which is fabulous. We told the chef our mission and she took the time to talk to us about it and take pics with us! Maybe one day, we will collaborate with him - a girl can dream, can't she? What's the worst that could happen?

I am also writing a book! It is entitled, "Good Morning Ms. K." (Those are the sweet four words I would hear every morning!). It will chronicle my 40 years of teaching while hopefully give the reader some advice to take away for themselves when looking at how they want to craft their life. It is written in three sections.

  1. Part 1: Find Your Calling - this is the early part of my life when I realized early on (age 12) that I wanted to be a special education teacher

  2. Part 2: Follow Your Passion - the bulk of my career and all of the incredible things that happened along the way

  3. Part 3: Forge Your Change - this is the part I am writing right now - the part where I "forge my change" by starting this non profit business.

I am not sure when the book will be completed, but it is intertwined with the start of this business. I will keep you posted on the progress of it as well. I might even post some excerpts from time to time for your reading pleasure!


Just got back from CHASE bank where Margot helped me set up an account for donations to Sleepy Coffee, Too. Tonight, Zach is going to help me set up the donation page on the website with a link for donations. Pretty soon, people will be able to donate to the cause, if desired!

Every day, I feel like I am getting closer to that day when we open our doors and say,

"Welcome to Sleepy Coffee, Too! Where kindness is served one cup at a time!"



The donation page is up and running!!!!!!!!

You can donate with paypal, if you feel so moved.

Thanks Ben!!!