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Our ExtraSpecialStory

When Jache ‘aged out’ of the public school system, as a 22 year old young adult on the autism spectrum, Scott and Cherri Sanes knew that they had to take action to keep their son engaged and involved in the community. Great Barrington, MA along with most other communities in America offer no Integrated Employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities leaving parents with either the choice of committing to institutional care or providing that care themselves, which in many cases such as Jache’s severe autism, requires fulltime supervision. Knowing so many other young adults in the Berkshires who were in the same position as Jache, Cherri instead committed herself to creating a solution that could work for everyone – a safe space where people with special needs and the greater community could come together- and get to know one another better.

After three years of brainstorming, fundraising, collaborating and renovating, both ExtraSpecialTeas participants and Great Barrington community members entered into our vibrant and charming Victorian Tea Shop now bubbling with a sense of Purpose, Possibility and Gratitude for them all to share in. And having celebrated our One Year Birthday just this past April 2nd on World Autism Awareness Day, we continue to be so grateful for everyone who continues to pass through our bright yellow front door supporting us in so many ways.

ExtraSpecialTeas has now successfully become a positive alternative for young adults with special needs for the Great Barrington Community, providing them both daytime habilitation therapies, as well as vocational opportunities not offered elsewhere to those who would not otherwise be employed. We create an inspired and professional peer driven camaraderie that our participants with special needs thrive in and feel lifted by, plus create unique and meaningful ways for them to engage with the Great Barrington community, as they embark upon a life-empowering journey.

At ExtraSpecialTeas, we will always be committed each and everyday to inspiring a future where everyone with intellectual or developmental challenges GET THAT THEY MATTER AND FEEL THEY BELONG TO THEIR COMMUNITY.

Our Board

Our Board of Directors are from all across the US and Canada! They dedicate their time, expertise and resources to help our little teahouse in the Berkshires continue to flourish. We love them! Thank you, thank you for your unwavering support!

ExtraSpecialPartners

Tiesta Tea Not pictured: Alex Sosnov
Melissa Guyer and Joe Harrington, DDS

Headquartered in Chicago, Tiesta Tea jumped on board with us well before we opened our doors. They have tirelessly supported us in an advisory role, consistently donated ‘loose change’ [anything to the right of the decimal point on online purchases], honored us at their annual birthday parties in Chicago, plus provided us with some of the most delicious and interesting teas in the world. To Ashley Whitney, Dan Klein and Patrick Tannous, we extend our most heartfelt gratitude for your passionate commitment to our success, your unmatched generosity to our cause and your unceasing pioneering spirit to bring good things into the world.

The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services holds our hands and provides us with the support we need for our vocational day program participants. Thank you, DDS! Melissa Guyer and Joe Harrington we are so grateful to both of you!