Change4Change

Thrift Store

The Change4Change online store launched in a trial capacity on July 1st, 2021. The online store served as an outlet for the sales and promotion of items made within the oneROOF Youth Services various social enterprise programs. The products listed for sale on the site were made by youth accessing oneROOF Youth Services programming.

 

Since then, Change4Change has opened a physical store, selling gently used items not needed by youth accessing our services. Thanks to the generosity of the community, we often find our donation room bursting at the seams. The physical Change4Change store operates as an onsite thrift store, selling these overflow items, and employing the youth we serve. 

Following the opening of our physical store at 1314 King Street East, the Change4Change online store was reopened. Our goal is for this site to bring further employment opportunities, outside of working in our retail store. Soon you will be able to purchase items, inquire about catering, place custom clothing, bag, book, and button orders, as well as find information about the program opportunities at oneROOF Youth Services. These are all facets of youth enterprise programming in operation (Lunch Box, Street Designs, Wood Working, etc.).

 

 

Where It All Began 

 

We are overjoyed to finally be opening this store as it has been in our dreams for oneROOF’s future for a very long time. Here’s a little story of the making of Change4Change, told by oneROOF CEO, Sandy Dietrich-Bell… 

There is a great deal of research on the benefits of social enterprise programs for youth experiencing homelessness; and over the last decade, the government has come to recognize the benefits of these programs as well. Interestingly, however, research and/or government funding is NOT how oneROOF’s social enterprise programs were born...

 

Early in my career at oneROOF, I had a very angry young man storm into my office. For what felt like the umpteenth time that day, he had been told by community members to “just get a job.”

 

He was frustrated, offended and yelling at me about it all. The points he was making, in a very loud voice, were actually quite valid...

 

How could he get a job with no education? How was he expected to get a job without having graduated high school? How was he expected to work, when no one would give him a chance to get any job experience.

 

I think, in that moment, he expected one of two things… either to be restricted for pushing his way into my office and yelling; or to be “social worked.” He was quite surprised when instead, I handed him a blank piece of paper and told him to write me a quick resume. He shakely wrote his name on the paper; then paused and asked me “what address to use." Afterall, he was homeless.

 

We then discussed what else needed to be on a resume – education, previous employment, certifications, and references. He stared at the piece of paper that contained his name – and the rest was blank.

 

For a few minutes we stared at each other; and then his face softened, his eyes welled up with tears and he said something to me I won’t soon forget. He said, “Sandy, I want to work, but my paper is blank so I don’t stand a chance.” It was in that moment that the idea of a social enterprise program at oneROOF took shape.

 

This young man and I spent the next hour discussing how important it was for him to be given a chance to develop transferrable and practical job skills. How he needed to have references that he could put on a resume in the future. How he was motivated to make the change happen in his life.

 

Together, this young man and I, created oneROOF Lunchbox – and later oneROOF Street Designs. Employment opportunities that, in a safe environment, would give youth – like this young man - a chance to change that blank page.

 

This is the impetus behind our Lunchbox, Street Designs, Woodworking, and Thrift Store. To provide opportunities for the youth we support – now and in the future – to learn a variety of skills that will assist them to find main stream employment. To provide them with volunteer support, that will one day act as references and mentors to them. To give them the chance to change what was once a blank piece of paper.

Sandy Dietrich-Bell

CEO, oneROOF Youth Services