Store Aids Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra
Everyone deserves a second chance. That goes for things, too. Better yet, things that can benefit people with special needs.
With just that idea in mind, Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra opened the Second Chance Thrift Store in Mammoth Lakes on October 14, 2009, thanks to the vision of Executive Director Kathy Copeland. "This has been a dream of mine," she said.
Copeland originally hails from Vermont and has lived in Mammoth since 1971. For the last seven years, she has hosted yard sales at her home with contributions from the community to benefit DSES.
But as overflow items began to accumulate, she realized a retail store could provide year-round benefits for the town and for people with special needs.
Two weeks before its grand opening, Second Chance Thrift Store was already filled with a variety of items, including an artsy centerpiece dining table and matching hutch, ski clothing, shoes, antique bottles, books - and a vintage dress mannequin dating to the early 20th century.
Although Copeland said stuff had mostly just trickled in, there were a few major donors, including Tony Barrett, Shelley Silva and Chris Yegan. Many others in the community contributed to the infrastructure, such as display cases and shelves. "People have just been fabulous in helping us and doing the original set-up."
The Cast Off is only figuratively the competition; the businesses are already working to complement each other.
"The Cast Off has been so helpful in getting this project to fruition. They've given me a display case and helped me with pricing," Copeland said. "We think there is enough business and definitely enough stuff to go around."
And Second Chance has different hours than the Cast Off. "We've set it up that we're closed on two of the days that they're open."
Store manager Linda Williams is the only paid employee and an integral part of the store's involvement with Mammoth High School's Workability and AVID programs.
"She's a great retailer and she's great at making this place look great. But more important is her interaction with our students with special needs," Copeland said.
Store Manager Linda Williams and Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra Executive Director Kathy Copeland have a lot to smile about: The Second Chance Thrift Store opened October 14, 2009, to benefit people with special needs and the community year-round.
Williams, also from Vermont and Mammoth resident for 11 years, has been a longtime advocate of youth and activities that support leadership and community service, including membership with the Mono County Child Care Council.
"I've just always been an advocate for kids and healthy things for them to do," she said. "Second Chance rewards students with community service credit for their hard work."
The Workability program gives kids with special needs a place to go and work, and creates a model and value system (such as learning about reliability and how to get to work) that may facilitate future employment.
"We're going to try to push their potential in hopes that someday they can get a job like this," Copeland said. "This whole Workability program is for them to learn life skills."
Students helped sort and prepare donated items for sale in the store and will be an ongoing part of the business.
She and Williams both said DSES has also received substantial guidance from the Inyo Mono Association for the Handicapped of Bishop, Mammoth Hospital Auxiliary of the Cast Off, Wild Iris, and Mono County Mental Health.
Adapted from article by Catherine Billey - October 2, 2009 Mammoth Times