Inclusion Avenue
“Special Drinks, Special Opportunities” 

Words By Cheryl Pangborn

This is a story about a special teacher with an ambitious vision that goes far beyond the classroom.

Monicah Starr is a special-needs teacher at Richmond Hill High School who was compelled to find solutions for her students aging out of school. Her tenacity led to the development of Inclusion Avenue, a mobile drink cart business that is staffed by specially-abled people locally. Their motto is “Special drinks, special opportunities.”

According to Monicah, following the COVID pandemic, many of the transitional needs of students aging out of school was falling through the cracks. “It was sad to see my students graduating and many having absolutely no place to go here in Richmond Hill. I just couldn’t sit back and let this continue to happen,“ she explains. So, armed with a dream, she made the purchase of a kiosk (a very pretty “table on wheels“) and recruited friends and neighbors to get her business model up and running. The Himalayan Curry Kitchen in Richmond Hill, hosted a fundraiser, donating their space and all of the dinner sales towards Inclusion Avenue’s start-up costs. She further explains that it’s more than just giving a special needs person a job, “In the classroom setting we’re teaching the students about budgeting, banking and saving, but they leave school and have no place to put these practices to use. By earning a paycheck it brings all of that instruction full circle because it’s real to them now.”

So what beverages are on Inclusions Avenue’s menu? You get to decide! Monicah had the cart at a few different events in and around Richmond Hill. She tells me they do a specialty coffee bar with tea and espresso. She says the community has been amazing and supportive of the business. In December, they are hosting a wedding with a menu centered around Mocktails. Monicah is enjoying the learning curve as she comes up with fun, fancy drinks and trains her staff. They can accommodate private events but also plan to be at upcoming public gatherings around The Hill. “We’re using this time while we’re small, to perfect our brand. We’re growing, learning and perfecting as we go.”


Currently, she has two young ladies from the high school working at the cart. One is her former student and the other, a RHHS graduate who is acting as support staff. She is hopeful as word of the business grows, and they are booked for more events, she’ll add more employees. “There are some great businesses in Richmond Hill hiring special needs people and that’s tremendous. But we need more jobs and my goal is to exclusively hire special-needs people.”

Monicah’s vision goes far beyond her “pretty table” on wheels. Her next step in the expansion of her business is to acquire a trailer and move from drinks to mobile food offerings. She is also passionate about growing her nonprofit initiative called the Ability Foundation, which will further support and empower the special needs population locally.

You can’t miss the excitement in her voice when she talks about where they are now and where they’re headed. “Honestly, the need is so great, and for these people, working and thriving outside of the classroom setting is so important. It’s life changing for the individuals, families and educators. We all win!”

If you’d like to learn more about hiring Inclusion Avenue for your next event, you can reach out to them at or find them on social media.