WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — A Lake County man’s dream came true at an event at Ballantine restaurant Sunday evening.
Charlie Schulz, 34, has wanted to be a bartender for as long as his family can remember and thanks to the Deepwood Foundation he got to live out his dream, raising awareness on the first day of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month focuses on teaching the importance of inclusion and highlights how successful those with disabilities can be, and Charlie’s story is a prime example of that lesson.
In his younger years, Charlie attended Willoughby-Eastlake Schools and later graduated from the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Deepwood Foundation’s Broadmoor School in Mentor. This June will mark Charlie's 13 years of employment with the LCBDD/Deepwood’s Community Employment Services.
On Sunday, Charlie worked behind the bar serving drinks, including the special “Charlie’s Lemonade,” to guests at Ballantine restaurant.
Charlie said he was looking forward to a packed bar so he could show off his skills.
“[The event] will help [others] feel free, be happy, show them what I love to do and show them what I would do if I was a bartender,” Charlie said. “I want it to be busy because I’m a hard worker.”
Charlie’s older sister Patty said Sunday's event was years in the making.
“Since Charlie transitioned from schooling services to adult services he has put in his adult services plan that he wants to be a bartender, so that was when he started—21, 22—and he’s going to be 35 this year so it’s been years he’s wanted to do something like this,” Patty said.
Charlie has been practicing bartending the whole time and while he’s learned how to mix different drinks, his favorite is a classic.
“I like Jack and Coke,” Charlie said.
Charlie’s bartending event helped raise money for the Deepwood Foundation. To learn more about the foundation, click here.