Kymberly Hirst

KNX Hero of the Week
Thursday, December 12th
Entering the workforce after graduation can be tough. But it's often harder for a person who has a disability. 

That's where our KNX Hero of the Week steps in, helping high school students with special needs learn skills for employment. 

MHS Roasters is a coffee cart that's run by students at Monrovia High School. The idea was created by Counselor Kymberly Hirst, who wanted to find a way to help students with severe handicaps get work experience that didn't include typical janitorial or cafeteria services. 

"It's for my students that are in the mod/severe population, and my severely handicapped. Both of those student populations need a lot of job support," says Kymberly. 

"I was trying to figure out a different way for my kids to earn or gain job skills, so I bought two Keurigs, and creamer, cups and a cash register. We pulled the kids in, two at a time, and they learned the cash register. Then they made a cup of coffee or hot chocolate for a friend." 

The cart is set up in several locations on campus throughout the week. Besides job experience, it provides a fun service for students and faculty. It also creates a special atmosphere, that cultivates conversations and unexpected friendships. 

"It was really cool to just watch them come alive," remarks Kymberly, about her students. 

Brenda Garcia works at the school and says for some students who are non-verbal, Kymberly's coffee cart has been life-changing. 

"She makes a huge difference!" exclaims Brenda. "For them to tell you how much [the coffee] is, and for them to be able to work the cash register, and give you your coffee and say 'thank you, good morning' - it's amazing! I don't think we've had that at this school."

The students get paid through a state program, and every dollar that's made by the coffee goes back into the cart for supplies. 

It's become such a hit, a local Starbucks has reached out, offering support, a class tour, and even a professional training session. 

"It's way bigger than I ever expected it to be," says Kymberly. "It's very humbling, and very touching, and I get emotional every time I talk about it. I just wanted job experience for my kids, that's it! It's very humbling." 

Kymberly Hirst is making a difference in our community, and that is why she's been named our KNX Hero of the Week! 

KNX Heroes presented by California Resources Corporation, saluting our military veterans, and all of our heroes! 

If there's someone you'd like to nominate, you can do so, at KNX 1070.com.  

Heather Jordan, KNX 1070 News Radio. 
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