TOPEKA (KSNT)- A Topeka woman is providing opportunities to a community that may sometimes go unseen, all inside of a small, locally owned coffee shop.

There’s nothing like starting your day with a fresh cup of coffee or at least a friendly smile from your local barista.

Caitlyn Halsey is the owner of Dialogue Coffee House in Topeka. She opened the store when she was only 20-years-old. But she didn’t do it with just the thought of having another coffee shop in the city.

“Dialogue Coffee House is a full-service coffee and bakery,” Halsey said. “So we make everything from start to finish here in the store. Our main mission and focus is supported employment for folks with individual and developmental disabilities.”

Halsey said she became invested in helping people with any kind of ability when she was in high school. While at Washburn Rural High School, she worked at the school’s coffee shop and connected with the school’s special education department. But once she left, she realized there was another need for the community after graduation.

“They really didn’t have an outlet and a place to feel successful in anything outside of school,” she said. “And so, just coming alongside them and hearing those stories and struggles just wanting to create a place where they no longer have to face that.”

In 2019, Dialogue Coffee opened in southwest Topeka, providing a need for a community that can sometimes get overlooked. Teaching them job skills, social interaction and more.

“I knew that this city needed this so badly,” she said. “And there have been so many people who have been waiting for far too long. And so, there was no more time to wait. It needed to happen and it needed to happen now.”

Halsey hopes her story and journey inspire everyone, whether it be the young entrepreneur, a new employee or even the customer who comes in for a daily cup of joe.

Dialogue Coffee House was closed on its one-year anniversary in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the community decided to come together and celebrate the shop and its mission with a drive-thru parade.

If you have a woman who is making a difference in the community who may go unnoticed, let us know by nominating them here.