Business Entrepreneurism Is Thriving at Saint Dominic’s Home with New Student-Adult Partnership

Sunshine Canteen Rising to New Levels


Smart, fledgling businesses know when to bring on the right partner to help grow their business. This is the case with the Sunshine Canteen, a snack-delivery business operated by the Saint Dominic’s Home Day Habilitation Program. To take advantage of sales opportunities the Sunshine Canteen has entered into a new partnership with students from the nearby St. Dominic’s School. Older students in grades 9 - 12 now work collaboratively with adults with intellectual disabilities to run the snack business.


The Sunshine Canteen is an innovative work-skills program that instills values, responsibility and pride for each student and adult involved in the venture. The students provide guidance, supervision and encouragement to the Day Habilitation adults who focus on fulfilling the orders. The student entrepreneurs are getting a firsthand opportunity to work in a business environment by fulfilling orders, calculating inventory, profit and costs, and managing goods that need to be restocked.


On any given morning, Monday through Friday, Room 11 in Farrell Hall is abuzz with entrepreneurs working in the Sunshine Canteen readying snack orders for Saint Dominic’s Home employees throughout the Blauvelt campus. Sunshine Canteen employees deliver daily personalized snacks ranging in price from $.50 to $1.25 to Saint Dominic’s employees who place their next-day orders when they receive their snacks. Every snack item is placed in a brown lunch bag with their name and accompanied by a beautifully handwritten note of thanks attached to the bag.



"This new collaboration has truly taken the Sunshine Canteen to a whole new level. It’s a win-win-win for our Day Habilitation folks, the students and the staff customers,” John Kayser, Day Habilitation Coordinator, said. "The students get real-life business experience at the same time opening themselves up to helping people with disabilities and seeing how they contribute to bettering their lives. The best part of the day is when the snacks are received with great joy and appreciation. The expressive interactions they have with the staff of the Agency shows they are really connecting and validate their purpose in this program.”