social enterprise opportunities for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

“Do things that you enjoy…just go for it!” A conversation with Amy Glass

I had the pleasure of chatting with Amy Glass, partner at Common Ground Co-Operative, this week and was bowled over by her passion to learn, her loyalty to friends, her unwavering determination and her infectious laugh. We delved into delicious and fun topics of coffee, baking and teamwork! Amy generously gave us a peek into her enriching experience at Common Ground.

Sam: So Amy, how has your week been?
Amy: My week has been good! I’ve been busy doing Common Ground stuff – working at Lemon & Allspice. I have a lot things going on! I got to bake a few things that we sell at New College.

Sam: Amy, I confess, I’m not sure I’m a very good baker here!
Amy: Well, Sam, I cook, I bake and I live alone! I also love art with my support worker and I’m a DramaWay ambassador – an actor and a dancer.

Sam: Wow! You are multitalented! Let’s dive into your story: When did you start working at Common Ground?
Amy: I’ve been working at Common Ground since 2007. I went through a lot of training! Today, I am really good at making coffee, selling food, handling money, going to the bank and shopping. I realized through the years that my strengths were getting stronger being a partner Common Ground. I have been here for 15 years.

Sam: What was it like when you first started?

Amy: When I first started, I was really nervous. I used to take deep breaths, let people help me and do things that I really enjoyed.

Sam: What do you love most about working at the New College location?
Amy: Oh my gosh! Where do I start? I just LOVE New College – they are just like my second family. Because of pandemic I had to go back to training again. I can’t wait to go back to being in person! The customers who are students from the UofT would come over and get coffee and some food on their study breaks. I miss that.

Sam: Are you a coffee drinker?
Amy: Oh I am a coffee drinker! (She said with emphatically) I love Fairtrade! I drink it with a little milk.

Sam: Me too! How has training been during the pandemic?
Amy: All of us are training at Lemon & Allspice, which is a lot of baking. We are also training at CleanABLE and the coaches do the same things we do. I enjoy doing all of it. I enjoy helping with baking, shopping and even inventory.

Sam: Was baking easy for you?
Amy: Well, Sam you know I love baking so, yes, easy for me!

Sam: What are you looking forward to the most when we are all back at the Coffee Sheds?
Amy: I just miss all of my friends and colleagues. You know, we train new students to become co-op students and so I’m going to be doing a little bit of teaching too.

Sam: Oh! That’s exciting! When you think about teaching, what do you do help new students out who are just as nervous as you were when you first joined Common Ground?
Amy: If they need help, I tell them to just go for it. Take it step by step and I encourage them to do more and as they get better we evaluate them and try to make them feel better by doing things that they want to do – things that they enjoy doing.

Sam: When do you feel the strongest or most confident?
Amy: Being with friends who help me. I feel confident making coffee. But my baking? That’s next level!

Sam: Do you have any advice for people thinking about becoming a partner at CGC?
Amy: Just go for it! For people with special needs who are looking for a job after high school, Common Ground Co-operative will help you find one that is suitable for you and matches your abilities.

Sam: What is the one thing you have been able to work on or do this year that you are most proud of?
Amy: I am proud to be a partner in this business. Everyone is so nice to me. I am looking forward to meeting my new job coach Amelia and work with her in January. I am looking forward to meeting my new friends. I just can’t wait to go back to business again and I can’t wait to be back to the New College location!

My conversation with Amy was packed with hope, enthusiasm, optimism and quite a few giggles. Amy, thank you for bringing so much joy to our community. We are truly inspired by your spirit! I look forward to a time where we can all be back in person and chat and laugh over treats baked by our pro – Amy Glass.