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Blind Woman Provides Jobs and Hope for Disabled People

Blind Woman Provides Jobs and Hope for Disabled People

Erin Willman refused to give up against the odds, and now she’s inspiring disabled people and their families. Her message of positivity is one we could not resist sharing!

White Cane Coffee is a company founded by 22-year-old Erin Willman. Not only is this young entrepreneur inspiring young women to follow their dreams, but she is also leading a much bigger movement. Her goal? Normalizing disabled people in the workplace.

When Erin was fifteen, she lost her vision. It was then people started telling her what she cannot do, but she wanted to show them what she can do. Erin had applied for jobs but was turned away because of her disability. Erin decided that instead of letting other people turn her away, she would create her career. In just one year, the young woman became the CEO of her own company–White Cane Coffee.

What started as an idea on a bad day is now a booming business that has put Erin’s coffee on the shelves of several shops in different cities, but this is just the beginning. Her main storefront is located in the small, charming town of  Warren, Pennsylvania. There, she sells an assortment of organic coffee whole bean, ground, compostable individual-cups, and cold brew blends.

 But White Cane Coffee does more than sell java to visitors and residents of their small community. They create opportunities for blind and autistic people to learn excellent work skills. Moreover, the workers gain confidence in their overcoming the roadblocks they face each day. Take a look.

What does White Cane Coffee stand for?

As well as fantastic coffee, inclusiveness is the main focus when it comes to the making of White Cane Coffee. Each package that the coffee comes in is printed with a label containing Braille. This concept was just one of Erin’s brilliant ideas to become more inclusive.

She often mused to herself and asked the question, “why should people who are blind not be able to shop for themselves?”

White Cane Coffee is one of the first companies to label all of its products in Braille.

White Cane Coffee provides jobs for the handicapped community at a livable wage. The shop is currently providing eight jobs to disabled workers. The goal is to allow them to have freedoms they should receive elsewhere but are wrongfully deprived of.

By creating the jobs provided at White Cane Coffee, the company enriches the lives of these people. Erin and her family always share their motto,

“If you can change one person’s life, you are changing the world.” ~Erin Willman

These jobs go deeper than paying wages. Indeed, they bring hope to the employees to show them they, too, matter and are a working part of something much bigger. Erin even brought her employees with her to a business dinner meant for the CEOs of the companies in Warren County. She believes they are just as important as she is to the company.

How the company profits benefit disabled people

Like any other company, profit goes to pay the employees that are working for the company to allow them to have a livable wage.

But that is not enough for this entrepreneurial enterprise. White Cane Coffee’s profit also benefits so many more people beyond their employees. Here are ways they advocate for people who face unique challenges.

Helping to defray the expense of leader dog training

Proceeds go to The Sight Center for Northwest Pennsylvania. That organization’s mission is to “prevent blindness and promote independence for those with vision loss.”

Through this center, Erin and White Cane Coffee began to support a leader dog named Erie. A portion of White Cane’s money was given to the program to support the dog’s training. Erin is unable to have her own dog due to an allergy. Still, she decided to help with the cost of a leader dog for another person. Recently, Erie went off to Michigan for his final training. This is a program that will continuously receive our support.

Leader dog in training, Erie, poses for the camera.

Working with blind and disabled children in the community

Additionally, Erin spends much of her time working with schools and organizations that specialize in teaching the blind and disabled. She is exceptionally proud of the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, located in Pittsburgh. Erin visited them and saw their program designed to encourage work and self-reliance for their students. These skills are vital to independence.

Also, Erin had the opportunity to speak at the National Federation of the Blind Convention in Harrisburg, PA.  Her message is one of hope and encouragement.

Her opening statement at that event was the following:

“When you lost your vision, people stood in line to tell you what you can’t do, now let’s talk about what you can do. You have value, you have worth and you can live an independent life.” ~Erin Willman

Hundreds of people in attendance remarked that Erin’s comments gave them fresh hope.

Helping non-profits raise funds

Warren County Children’s Advocacy Center is another one of the many programs White Cane Coffee supports. She supports them because, as she says, “They speak for those who can not speak for themselves.”

The coffee company created a unique blend of coffee. And for each bag or box sold, a portion of the proceeds goes to them. Erin’s fundraising strategy empowers organizations to sell coffee at competitive prices to drive better fundraiser earnings margins for the non-profit.

Erin’s reasoning for putting money into other organizations is straightforward. She states that it was never her dream to be the CEO who owns five cars, but it is her dream to be the CEO who changes the world.

Final thoughts on how Erin hopes to help disabled in her next phase

Above all, Erin and her team remain thankful for the fantastic support from their community. And more importantly, they are proud of how much they accomplish in providing resources and empowerment to disabled people. White Cane Coffee continues to flourish and plans to expand.

They hope to continue to create additional jobs, which will help even more people become independent. To that end, they are working on some very exciting projects to help gain the footing necessary to jump to the next level as a company.

You can listen to Erin on a podcast at to hear her speak about her company’s plans and how she will continue to be a voice for disabled people.

Connect with Erin Willman:
2 1/2 E 3rd Ave, Warren, PA 16365
Follow White Cane Coffee on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @whitecanecoffee


15 Kind Words and Phrases That Spread Hope »

15 Kind Words and Phrases That Spread Hope »

The world could certainly use some hope and kind words. With all the struggles that you face both personally and globally, it’s easy to become downtrodden.

You can let anxiety and depression sink in, and it can easily stifle you emotionally.

Thankfully, there is power in the spoken word. Did you know that some ancient writings say that the tongue holds the real power of life or death? Think about that for a minute. If you spew negativity and hateful things from your mouth, it can affect your health and entire character.

However, when you speak positive affirmations and spread goodness and joy, it helps your psyche cope with things, and it can improve your health. It’s strange how your words can have such an impact on your life, but research has proven this theory repeatedly.

People are generally divided into two categories: the pessimist and the optimist. Which category do you fall into? Do you see the glass as half empty, or is it half-full? Your perceptions and views will mold and make who you are.

Speaking Kind Words of Hope in Times of Great Uncertainty

If you want to reduce stress and speak life back into your tired and weary soul, then there are positive and kind words that you can say over yourself and others. If you want to spread hope and joy for all, then incorporate these phrases into your life and speech.

1. “If you’re patient, you’ll be compensated for every disappointment in life.” Henry David Thoreau

2. “When you have hope, you’re able to see the light even though there is darkness all around you.” Desmond Tutu

3. “The good in this world is worth fighting for.” J.R.R. Tolkien

4. “I get by when I stop dwelling on my misery; rather, I tend to focus on the beauty and love that remains.” Anne Frank

5. “Weeping may remain, but for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” English Proverb

6. “You can accomplish great things in this world if you keep trying even when there seems to be no hope.” Dale Carnegie

7. “Use your talents to carve a tunnel of hope through your darkest mountain.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

8. “Hope means to keep believing even when everything seems doomed, or it seems as if there is no purity left in the world at all. When you feel that everything is hopeless, you develop the strength to fight another day.” G.K. Chesterton

9. “It doesn’t matter how far your journey or where you go, as long as you don’t stop.” Confucius

10. “You will find your greatest victories come in life, not when you fall, but in every time that you rise.” Confucius

11. “Hope is as delicious and sweet as bread to a poor man.” Gary Herbert

12. “If you are without hope, then you cease to live.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky

13. “Frequently, the failures you experience in life are merely because you didn’t realize how close you were to success, and you gave up too soon.” Thomas Edison

14. “Use your mistakes from yesterday to live for today and use your successes of today to have hope for tomorrow.” Albert Einstein

15. “There are many dark nights, but there are always brighter days.” Tupac

Speaking Kind Words to Redirect Your Life

Positive affirmations are meaningful. These powerful statements help you to change the way you think. Simple, kind words can be useful tools to reprogram your subconscious mind.

It can help you build new habits, get rid of bad ones, and motivate you to succeed. The human mind is powerful, and few taps into the superpowers that lie therein. You can think and imagine things even if they don’t exist right now, and by envisioning situations in a new reality, you mentally make provisions for them.

By focusing your thoughts on positive affirmations, you can start acting on the behaviors you speak to reinforce the goodness in life rather than the negativity.

You might compare your brain to a computer. When you’re working on a laptop, you plug the data into the system to get it to do what you want it to. By using specific commands and programs, you can do amazing things with the touch of a button.

Now, you are so accustomed to getting your computer to do what you want that you don’t even think twice about the processes involved. The same thing can happen to your brain. When you use positive and friendly words, you are programming your mind for greatness, and it’s going to react.

While you may think that it sounds like supernatural hogwash, it’s not magical. The mental laws are immensely powerful and yet quite simple.

Why Do Positive Affirmations Work?

Positive statements or kind words can be used to reduce stress, help you gain control over a seemingly impossible situation in life, or conquer negative habits. When you speak positivity over and over, it’s not long before it becomes your mindset.

Positivity allows your subconscious to grow more robust, and it will affect your entire life. When you fill your vessel with optimism, you will develop new ideas, see opportunities that you didn’t before, and make a stand to become a better you. Think of affirmations as words with power behind them.

These photos demonstrate kindness and will touch your heart.

Fifteen Positive Affirmations to Turn to Daily

Here are 15 positive affirmations and kind words that you should speak over yourself and others every day. Chart your progress and see how different your life has become when you look at life through optimism.

1. I am pleased and effective in everything I do.

2. I will put my emphasis on contentment and positivity.

3. Today, I vow to do something that will enhance my life.

4. I am thankful for my loving partner to share my joys with.

5. I love everyone around me.

6. My life is full of love and happiness.

7. Today, I will go out of my way to show love and kindness to others.

8. I’m loved and respected by all who know me.

9. I have the energy and motivation to get done my tasks.

10. I love my job, and am thankful for the money it brings.

11. Today, and every day, I feel I am improving my outlook and becoming more positive.

12. I am thankful for all that I have.

13. I’ll let my ambitions drive my future.

14. I am attractive, and anyone would be lucky to be with me.

15. I will seize the day and make magic happen.

Final Thoughts on Why We Must Share Kind Words and Spread Hope

A study was done in 2018 by the students at a university in Dubai. They used 30 plants, grouped in pairs by identical species. Fifteen plants were praised as the students spoke positively to it.

However, the other 15 plants were spoken to in a negative manner and cursed at. They said things like, “you’re ugly, you will never be as big and beautiful as the other plants, and you’re going to die.” Ikea sponsored the project at Wellington Academy, hoping to get to the bottom of the often bogus believed claim.

Researchers dubbed the study “Bully a Plant” to raise awareness of how harmful bullying can be to people, let alone plants. They documented the study on video for all the world to see. The results were uncanny.

The plants that received the negativity and all the harsh comments had droopy leaves and were dramatically different than the other foliage. While they had equally received the same water, food, and things essential for survival, the negativity had a dramatic impact.

While this study is about plants, it can be related to humans. Being always told how worthless you are and how you will never be as good as your brother or sister is very detrimental. If you grew up in a home where you were always seen as less than others, then you might have a negative outlook on life.

Thankfully, you have the power to change all of this. Your kind words and positive affirmations that you speak into your mind and soul can change you and those around you. Spread hope and joy around you to others by filling them with goodness and hope.

Be the person that everyone wants to be around and the one who has a smile on their face and a spring in their step. What changes can you make today to change your tomorrow? You only have one life to live, so it’s essential to make it the best one you can.