March 15, 2019
At 10, Camden Myers is already the founder of his coffee shop business. He suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), but Myers and all of his employees have proven the world that they are an essential part of society and can accomplish anything if they set their mind to it.
Cam’s Coffee Creations started as a pop-up shop business two years ago. Today, they have a shop inside of the Green Tree Community Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
What started as a family activity at the Myers’ coffee bar, a “no tech, no cell phone zone,” quickly became the perfect way for Latasha Lewis to teach her son Cam that his disabilities don’t define him, and to help him elevate his strengths and be empowered with the knowledge that he is a person of value.
Cam suffered a brain injury at birth that resulted in cognitive delays and accompanying nerve damage in his arm that makes simple tasks, like tying shoelaces and holding a pencil, extremely difficult. As he aged, Cam became self-aware of his shortcomings, and he started to get depressed.
On top of that, he received mean comments from teachers and other students, which led his mom to move him from school to school.
However, once Cam discovered his passion for coffee, his life started to take a turn for the better. With the help of Latasha, Cam began to sell cups of coffee and hot chocolate at a local hair salon at age 7.
Encouraged by her son’s drive, Latasha saw the perfect opportunity to teach Cam about maths, goal-setting, and social skills. “Even with years of therapy, we saw more progress in him just operating his own business,” she said.
“He came up with the idea he wanted to grow a quote-unquote, big business, and that he wanted that business to help other people, like him.”
These days, Cam works with six other part-time employees, all with some cognitive or physical disability.
“With the right support, kids and teens and individuals with special needs really can accomplish anything, and so today is basically our mission, our vision in action,” Latasha said at the grand opening ceremony of Cam’s Coffee Creations.
The menu includes several beverages with coffee, including Cam’s cookies & cream special, and baked goods provided by Bespoke Confections, a local business started by Jiliana Dulaney that hires people with different levels of autism.
“Nobody was willing to give them a chance, but I saw their potential,” said Dulaney of her workers.
Cam dreams with growing his coffee shop to the point where he can compete with big companies like Starbucks, and while he works toward his goal, he makes sure to help other people in need.
“I like helping people. I like working. I like making money, and I like donating money. I like donating money to people who don't have houses or food,” the young entrepreneur stated.
Last year, Cam won the “Youth of the Year” award from the Winston-Salem Chronicle.
Every year is more and more common to watch kids becoming successful entrepreneurs at a young age. They are able to develop their talents, while also acquiring a sense of responsibility and values that are necessary to run a business.
Jonah Larson, a sixth-grader from La Crosse, Wisconsin, became a viral sensation with his incredible skill to crochet beautiful blankets, toys, scarfs and more at such a young age.
He has fans from all around the world and had to stop taking orders after reaching over 3000 orders of his work.
With the help of his mother, Jennifer, Jonah has started to grow his crocheting business, Jonah's Hands, on social media, and he takes his job seriously. "My favorite thing to work on is whatever I'm working on at the time," he said.
"You can never master your technique in crochet because there's always something new to try. Like, you can make up your own sketches and patterns. I do a good amount of that.”
Jonah is also managing his finances responsibly, investing in more yarn, saving up for his future in college where he plans to study medicine, and even donating money to an Ethiopian orphanage from which he was adopted as an infant.
“I’m going to be an old man crocheting,” Jonah said. “I’m an old soul in a young person.”