Tonya Damron
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Tonya Damron Photography

National Coffee Day || Knoxville TN Humanitarian Photographer

man holding coffee beans

Happy National Coffee Day

Today is National Coffee Day and if any of you know me at all, you know my love for coffee!

I can’t think of coffee without thinking of an organization that I adore, Deaf Can Coffee.

I was introduced to Deaf Can! Coffee a few years ago while on a mission trip to Jamacia ..watch the video here … and from there I was hooked on their vision for the company and of course their coffee!

What is Deaf Can! Coffee

Deaf Can! Coffee exists to affirm young people in their identity as a Deaf person and as someone made in the image of God. Success is defined as young men and women accepting themselves, believing in their inherent gifts and talents, taking responsibility for their future and becoming a leader in their families, communities, and careers. We are an outreach of HarvestCall Jamaica, a not-for-profit organization founded to obey God and love others.

How they got their start

At the root of Deaf Can! Coffee is the belief that Deaf people can do anything and lack nothing, even though we don’t hear with our ears. Society, however, doesn’t always agree and Deaf youth often face a negative stigma in their environment that creates a L-A-C-K in their life by excluding them and preventing access to Language, Affirmation, Community, and Knowledge. To address this, a group of Deaf teen boys from Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (Kingston, Jamaica) were taken on a field trip to meet Evelyn Clarke, a Deaf coffee farmer in Top Hill, St. Elizabeth. Clarke is a Deaf person proud of his Sign Language, Affirmed in his Deaf identity, Integral in his Community and very Knowledgeable in the art of growing and roasting coffee. With his inspiration and challenge, the teen students began roasting, packaging and selling coffee. Then they began brewing the coffee and a few months later opened up a small coffee shop at their school. Out of this was born the social enterprise Deaf Can! Coffee that trains students at the school and also operates in the public space via a mobile coffee shop, and one day soon we may even have a full-time shop!

My Return To Jamaica

Being a Knoxville, TN humanitarian photographer has to lead some amazing adventures and I can’t wait until I return to Jamaica in next month. I can’t wait to hang out with the students at Deaf Can Coffee and of course, drink a lot of coffee!

OXOXO

Tonya

Check out other mission trips here

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