Sunflower Cafe at Carver Elementary keeps student’s memory alive

The Sunflower Cafe

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - Coffee is a needed school supply for many teachers most mornings.

One cafe in Richmond Hill makes special deliveries. In fact, it’s located inside Carver Elementary. It’s a project combining life skills and legacy.

The Sunflower Cafe is a program that was started to give students with special needs an opportunity to learn functional life skills, all while keeping Alivea Cox’s memory alive.

“Alivea was our daughter who passed away last June when she was 14-years-old," Kristi Cox said.

Kristi Cox’s daughter passed away suddenly after being diagnosed with Lymphoma. Though it was a shock to the community as well as her family, the students at Carver Elementary School are helping her keep Alivea’s memory alive with the Sunflower Cafe coffee cart.

“It means a lot to us. My biggest fear as her mom is that people will forget her, and I think that’s common with people who have lost children," Cox said.

Not only do the students roll around the halls delivering coffee and other drinks to teachers every Friday morning, but the cart has Alivea’s picture along with a sunflower on it.

“They made the choice to name it the Sunflower Cafe because sunflowers were her favorite flower, and the flower that we used for her funeral; really meant a lot to us.”

“Kristi had kind of heard through the grapevine that this was something we were trying to do and start at the school, so around Christmas time, she talked about that she wanted to give a gift to Alivea in honor of her daughter.”

Cox not only made a donation to kick-start the program, but for some of the students with special needs, it gives them an opportunity to learn valuable life skills like how to count money and how to interact with people.

“It was so exciting, not only because it was going to continue her memory, but we have a child that’s in that classroom, and so we have a child with Down syndrome, and we know the challenge that they have with learning skills to be employed.”

The Sunflower Cafe isn’t the only thing that will continue to keep Alivea’s memory alive. Cox says there’s also a book drive where they will be sending 14,000 books to Ukraine, as well as a band scholarship that will be presented to two students every year, among many other things.

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