Fairfax business receives Spirit of Virginia Award from governor, first lady

This article was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, InsideNoVa.com, and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

A Fairfax business, Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, received a 2023 Spirit of Virginia Award on Thursday from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin.

Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, on Fairfax Boulevard, is a business enterprise of nonprofit Every1 Can Work, which provides permanent employment opportunities for young adults living with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

“The celebration of Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates is extra sweet this Passover and Easter week,” Suzanne Youngkin said. “We laud this remarkable nonprofit that transforms the lives of Virginians with cognitive disabilities by providing a job that is much more than a paycheck, it is purpose in life.”  

At Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates, employees with intellectual disabilities work alongside volunteers and culinary specialists to produce chocolates as well as other food products and services, according to a release from the governor’s office. They develop workforce readiness skills that can serve them into their broader lives and careers.

“We are telling Virginia, the U.S. and the world that individuals with intellectual disabilities are capable of being productive members of society when given the right opportunities and supports,” said Ellen Graham, co-founder of Every1 Can Work.

Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates opened in 2013 with three employees with intellectual disabilities. Today, it employs 23 workers with intellectual disabilities and will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Oct. 1.

The Spirit of Virginia Award recognizes unique qualities and standout achievements across the state and salutes Virginians for their uncommon contributions in private industries, education, culture, the arts and philanthropy.

Earlier in the day Thursday, during a swing through Northern Virginia, the Youngkins toured the Sharon Bulova Center for Community Health and met with Fairfax health care professionals and families to discuss the governor’s efforts to transform behavioral health. They also stopped at Fairfax’s HMart, where they met with Asian community leaders and discussed tax relief, cost of living, workforce readiness and more.

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