Since before my son, Paul (C.) Sharp, was employed by Our Thrift Store, I often wondered what the Lord had in Paul’s future, especially related to his employment (for whatever reason, dads often become obsessed with where his children will ‘work for a living’). When we heard about the opportunities at Our Thrift Store and its mission, Terri and I were excited about the possibilities. We were excited about an employer who loved and cared about the success of an adult with disabilities. We loved the diversity of the employees. We loved the location. Our Thrift Store has continued to be a place that trains and supports these adults. Paul has been trained in performing many of the essentials that any employer would expect: arriving to work on-time, working hard to learn an assortment of duties, being held accountable to complete these duties daily and even having those hard conversations when the employees are missing the mark when their coaches know they can do better.
We like that Our Thrift Store provides a steady place of employment to give adults a sense of responsibility for the Store’s success and a way to provide for some of their fiscal needs, thereby promoting more independence. As with most adults, these young adults want to be just like their peers; i.e, responsible, independent and able to function outside their parents’ watchful eye.
Paul is often out in the community at various functions and local establishments and because of that, there is never a time that we don’t go out as a family that 3-4 people will greet Paul (and sometimes Terri and I ????) in a cheerful way. Many people recognize him from his involvement with the Store. Our Thrift Store has given him a comfort level of independence that he most likely wouldn’t have had. We are thankful every day for this ministry. We can’t imagine Paul’s life without it.