Beginning in 2013, students with mild to moderate disabilities who were in a protective and directed school environment through high school and are now in the Adult Community Transition Program have been coming to the Thrift & Vintage Shop to work in various capacities. These students, aged 18-22, work along with Assistance League member volunteers as they gain valuable and transferrable skills for their future employment. At the same time, the Thrift & Vintage Shop benefits greatly from their involvement.
Typically, we have up to six students with their job coach working three-hour shifts on Mondays and Wednesdays. They arrange their own transportation and are required to arrive on time, ready for work. Their coach and the Thrift & Vintage Shop manager assign various duties, dependent on each student’s ability and/or interest. Tasks range from simple duties, such as helping to tidy the shop and sorting donations, to more challenging tasks such as answering the telephone and working the cash register. Students have multiple opportunities to interact with each other, volunteers, and customers. They are encouraged to go a little outside of their comfort zones. To quote one of the students, “It makes me feel good.” It is rewarding for us to witness the growth of their confidence and self-esteem.
A former student, who recently “aged-out” of the Vocational Education Training Program, wrote the following note expressing his thoughts about his experience at the Thrift Shop:
Thank you for the loving site at the Thrift Shop. I loved the entire experience. There were so many things we learned at the store. It was a blast learning the cash register with you and we all liked the projects. There were so many things we did at the Assistance League [Thrift Shop]. I have hopes and dreams for the future. Lastly, I will visit you at the store in the future. Sincerely, Ronald