Every day, dozens of eager volunteers slip on blue aprons and transform into ReStore team members. Since we are almost entirely volunteer-run, ReStore relies on our conscientious assistants. They tackle all jobs including unloading furniture, organizing the store and helping customers. Some may work a day or two, but a few become regulars, handling long-term jobs.
Several talented regular volunteers are students from The Ivymount School, an award-winning, non-profit school for students with special needs. Ivymount provides educational and therapeutic services, gearing students to lead independent lives.
In Ivymount’s post-high school program, students aged 18 to 21 learn how to transition from school to work. They master life skills, such as managing a budget, preparing meals and using public transportation. Students also work at various job sites, exploring different work environments. Currently, 30 companies serve as job sites, including Giant, the National Zoo, assisted living centers, and, of course, ReStore.
Each semester, two Ivymount students share their talents with us. Jalen and Thomas joined our team in September. Every Monday and Friday, they arrive with job coach Neal Gertner, eager to help. While some volunteers work the floor, they organize paperwork for both ReStore and the Habitat for Humanity office. They sort donation receipts, file, stuff envelopes, fold pamphlets, type email addresses in our database and perform other necessary tasks to keep the office running smoothly.
Neal learns each task first, then teaches Thomas and Jalen. Neal supervises them, guiding when needed. But soon, Neal slips in the background allowing Jalen and Thomas to work independently. By the end of the shift, Thomas and Jalen have sorted the huge pile of donation receipts, sealed the envelopes, filed the paperwork and entered the data in the computer.
Back in the classroom, Neal sees tremendous growth in the ReStore volunteers. They are more organized and confident on the computer. “They truly have a leg up in the classroom,” he says. He also notices the students share their work experiences with each other, and as a result of glowing reviews, many students sign up on a waiting list to volunteer at ReStore! We are so grateful and honored to partner with such exceptional students.
So, the next time you shop at ReStore, chat with one of our volunteers, or better yet, become one. You’ll meet some amazing people from all walks of life. You’ll also see that everyone can contribute to the community.
Thanks to all our Ivymount volunteers for being such essential, gracious members of the ReStore family.
Here’s more information about The Ivymount School, a treasure in our neighborhood:
The Ivymount School and Programs is a non-profit school. Support is critical to ensuring a well-trained professional staff, optimum resources, and a full range of school-based and community options for our students.
If you have any questions, please contact Molly Whalen, Director of Development and Communications, at (301) 469-0223, ext 106, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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