MAIZE, Kan. -- MoXi Junction is a coffeehouse in Maize, Kansas. "MoXi" stands for "mothers of exceptional individuals."
"We have had hundreds of setbacks, hundreds of huge things, and each one I just had faith that they would figure themselves out and every one did," said Joanna Kilgore.
This place was a dream turned into reality out of desperation--and a showcase for what determined mothers can do.
"I'm starting a job when most people retire," Kilgore said.
These women who are mothers of special needs children, which includes autism, knew they had to find something for their adult children to do.
"Once they graduated and were completely done with school, it was harder to find them a job," Kilgore said.
So, MoXi Junction became a reality. At this little coffeehouse, the special needs young adults have a job, are safe, and remain part of the community.
(Scarlett Tully) "It's still hard to believe that it is actually happening," siad Scarlett Tully. "And we have been so busy this week, it is just a whirlwind."
Three of those who work there are Laren, Kara and Chris. And MoXi Junction is popular. Behind the counter, things move fast.
"It is absolutely wild here in the morning," Kilgore said. "Absolutely wild, and we are just flying around back there trying to get every drink, every bakery item, so many things are specialized. I see a huge line and I think, 'Oh, my goodness, how will we ever make it through that line?' And each time, we make it through that line."
"It's brought people from all over," said Pat Leon. "It's a junction; it's a gathering spot. It's really cool to see everyone come out, not only for the coffee, but they are coming out for the whole idea."
Right now, Laren lives next to the coffee house in his own place. Other homes for the special needs young adults will follow. Living, working and remaining part of community life is the goal.
(Joanna Kilgore) "They have all be very excited," Kilgore said. "They are ready to come to work, because we weren't even sure that would happen. They are clearly thriving, which was the whole purpose in the first place, so it has been rewarding to see that it is working out even better than we thought."
The coffee house has art, is painted in vibrant colors, and the mothers hope it will become a gathering place for Maize. What they've done here has national implications. It is a model for other communities nationwide.
"I am loving it. It was never in my plan though to run a coffee shop. It has been so much fun and we are so tired," Kilgore said. "The actual talking to people, we all love that, we love watching our kids. It has been absolutely fun for us."
And in case you were wondering, MoXi Junction is located at 319 South Park in Maize. It's open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.