Carleton Place café serves up jobs, confidence for employees with autism Owl Café brings much-needed services to rural eastern Ontario By Julie Ireton, CBC News Posted: Feb 25, 2016 6:00 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 25, 2016 11:25 AM ET Hugh Nelson, Cameron Weber and Susan Ford at Y's Owl Maclure's new coffee shop in Carleton Place, Ont. Hugh Nelson, Cameron Weber and Susan Ford at Y's Owl Maclure's new coffee shop in Carleton Place, Ont. (Julie Ireton/CBC) In his late teens, suffering the anxiety and social awkwardness that often comes with Asperger's syndrome, Cameron Weber had no confidence and didn't know if he'd ever be able to go to college or hold down a real job. Then someone gave him a break — he became a barista at a major coffee chain. Forced out of his comfort zone to deal one on one with customers, Weber says he gained new skills and eventually won awards for his service. Weber is now a commerce student at Carleton University, getting grades in the 90s. He's also chair of the board at Y's Owl Maclure, an Ottawa co-operative that serves people on the autism spectrum. In fact, Weber was the inspiration for Y's Owl's newest venture — a full service, community coffee shop on the main street of Carleton Place. "There really is no businesses that have it as their mission or objective to solely focus on Asperger's syndrome," said Weber. Rural presence At the Owl Café, the aim is to give young people with autism not only a job, but also the skills, coping mechanisms and other support services they need to find success like Weber did.
The Owl Cafe received this beautiful "Quilted Wall Hanging Owl" quilted by Connie Scott.