Volunteerism leads to thousands in sales for intellectually disabled
Students at Minnesota School of Business-Richfield volunteered at Arc’s Value Village Thrift Store—organizing, racking and pricing donated clothing and household goods. Their efforts generated $6,000 in sales, supporting Arc’s vision of equal rights for the disabled.
“Until their community involvement, the students didn’t understand how much this type of thrift store can truly make a difference in people’s lives,” said instructor Jane Bona, “Many shared that they had never considered how a thrift store was engaged in an effort to provide benefit to people in need.”
An estimated one to three percent of Americans suffer from intellectual disabilities. Arc strives to remove societal prejudices by advocating for and offering assistance to this group. A nationwide network of thrift stores helps ease financial barriers for those affected by Down syndrome, autism, shaken baby syndrome, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and other disabilities.
Bona engaged her class in a multifaceted project of education and volunteerism. In addition to spending time at the thrift store, students studied intellectual disabilities and prepared a PowerPoint presentation to educate others.
This combined academic and hands-on effort raised awareness of the needs of this unrecognized population.
“There is a whole group of disadvantaged people in society that does not get recognized or have services provided for them,” said student Michael Illes.
“In my Global Citizenship course, I learned that a community only works when its citizens are involved,” added student Jim Merkouris. “Results don’t happen unless people come forward to get the job done. We cannot just let it go, hoping someone else will do it.”