Our coffee shop will create a culture of acceptance, education, inclusion, advocacy and opportunity, while empowering others to do the same. We will break the expectation that a good cause comes with a lack of quality, while preserving Denver’s craft coffee culture. Stay tuned for our coffee shop opening in 2017!
Dirt is a non-profit coffee truck, based out of Denver, with a mission to train and employ young adults affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Founded in 2013, Dirt Coffee strives to change perspectives in hopes for a more sustainable future for individuals along the spectrum. We proudly serve locally roasted, organic and fairly traded coffee and espresso. Check out our calendar to see where we’re at and come grab a perfectly brewed cup of Dirt while supporting this great cause! Stay tuned for our coffee shop opening in 2017!
Lauren (Thome) Burgess, M.Ed., Co-founder
With over eight years of experience, Lauren has dedicated her life to serving those along the autism spectrum and is driven by her passion to make a lasting impact in the field. In 2010, Lauren graduated from the University of Colorado with a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology; the following spring she founded Garden, Inc. Garden provides comprehensive therapeutic services to Colorado families affected by autism. In 2013, Garden was nationally recognized as an Exemplary Organization by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Throughout her career, Lauren has served on a number of boards including Colorado’s Coalition of Autism Professionals. In 2012, Lauren received a full scholarship to attend Denver’s Greater Good Academy, an organization designed to help entrepreneurs create Triple Bottom Line Business Plans to better sustain our people and our planet. Through the Greater Good Academy, Lauren developed an environmentally conscious, community-oriented and award winning business plan allowing her to pursue her dream of opening a Denver-based coffee bar with a mission to employ young adults with autism. Recently, Lauren teamed up with Emily Wallace, a therapist at Garden, to make this dream a reality. With Lauren’s experience and Emily’s dedication, Dirt Coffee Bar is guaranteed to make the difference this world needs.
Emily Wallace, Co-founder
Emily began working with individuals with developmental disabilities in 2006 through Best Buddies Indiana. After attending a life-changing leadership conference that summer, Emily became her chapter’s president and started volunteering with the Applied Behavior Center in Indianapolis. These experiences taught her about the gifts that individuals with autism possess, and it was then that she knew she wanted to make a career out of serving people on the autism spectrum. In college at Indiana University, Emily majored in Special Education and continued volunteering with children and adults with disabilities. She also had the opportunity to work as an ABA therapist, which further drove her passion to help individuals with autism embrace their abilities and to change the community’s perspective on what autism is. Recently Emily moved to Denver and began working as a therapist at Garden, where she teamed up with Lauren to create Dirt Coffee Bar.
Lauren Jennings, Director of Operations
Lauren comes to the field with four years experience working with neurodiverse individuals. She fell in love and started following Dirt’s every move in 2014; and after she graduated from CU Boulder with a Psychology degree she knew that Dirt Coffee was where she needed to plant her roots. Lauren was hired on as a barista and job coach, but quickly took on a leadership role as the new Director of Operations in 2015. Lauren is passionate about running a socially and environmentally conscious business while ensuring that employment with Dirt doesn’t start and end with a paycheck for its employees. Lauren brings to Dirt a vision of acceptance, independence and inclusion for all individuals with neurodiversities.
We offer a full espresso bar along with drip coffee and tea.
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors who’s financial support helps keep our mission alive! If you are interested in seeing your company’s logo on our truck, please contact us today. We have sponsorships starting at just $500!
Autism Society of Colorado
The Joshua School
Blue Star Recyclers
Hall & Evans, L.L.C. Attorneys at Law