WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) – A local cafe is opening new opportunities for people with disabilities.

Nine months ago, former special education teacher Perry Warden tried to open his coffee shop. Health challenges, electrical issues and, worst of all, theft, backed him into a corner time and again.

But after months of adversity and misfortune, Carpe Diem Cafe is finally open.

“We’re standing in the kitchen and all of a sudden I look at her and I said, ‘God’s telling me to do something,’ and she said, ‘what is He telling you?'” I said, “We need to open up a coffee shop,” said owner Perry Warden.

Warden left the teaching profession due to burnout, but the kids he worked with always held a special place in his heart.

“One of the things that I felt strongly about is how do we help these kids,” Warden mused. “These kids want to work. They can work.”

Janice Pray is a volunteer with the cafe. 

“I told (Warden) if he needed volunteers, I would love to volunteer here, so that’s how I found him. I’m so excited,” she said.

Smiling faces on Saturday’s grand opening served as proof of God’s message to Perry.

Customers seemed to enjoy the ambiance.

“There’s a family vibe going on here,” said Zachary Brown.

“It’s like, special to be around somewhere that’s homey,” added Cassie Shivers.

Visitor Kelli Otsuka had a date day with her daughter, Keana, who has Down Syndrome. She says it’s nice to have a place to bring her child and feel comfortable. 

“My other daughter also has some special needs, so it’s also good to know that this could be a place where we could bring our kid and if their special needs show a lot that they’re welcome here.”

Warden says that the coffee shop isn’t just for special needs people, but for those with special circumstances as well. 

You can get more information here.