Our daughter, Jo Ann Cotton, has been a fixture at Our Thrift Store for almost 12 years. She’s “the Shoe Lady”. Jo Ann was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord, and has both physical and learning disabilities associated with it. We adopted her when she was 8 years old, and she is now 46.
When she graduated from high school there were few opportunities for her to be employed. There was a local organization that offered a “sheltered workshop” program and even job coach support, for outside employment, but those jobs were far and few between, and she was expected to perform at the same level as everyone else. Of course, that wasn’t possible.
And then we heard about Dave and Sandy Krikac and a new store that had opened in Franklin designed to hire adults with disabilities called “Our Thrift Store”. We contacted Dave, and after being interviewed, Jo Ann was hired. “Our Thrift Store” has been a God-send not only to Jo Ann, but to our entire family.
Jo Ann lives in an apartment in Franklin and arranges for the trolley to pick her up and bring her home from her job. This job has taught her life skills that she could not have learned anywhere else. The self-worth, self-esteem, and the self respect that she has experienced from this job have been amazing! And when there are issues where other employers would say, “You’re fired”, “Our Thrift Store” provides training, counseling, job intervention, job support, and most importantly, long arms of love that lets every employee know that that “They ARE somebody, they are important, and not only wanted, but needed in this job”!
Our Thrift Store is where passion meets purpose! They are doing important, ground-breaking work that no one else is doing in the state of Tennessee. And, they are doing it without tax payer money. They are giving hope to adults with disabilities and creating a work environment that is providing bold, pioneering and uncompromising services that promote and demonstrate a way of living that welcomes and celebrates inclusion, and all of us are better and stronger for it. This is not a goal or dream, but a belief that “Our Thrift Store” lives out every day.
In the ever-changing landscape of the City of Franklin, “Our Thrift Store’s” location will soon be gone. They need our help in finding and funding a new facility. This is such an important work here in Williamson County and I hope you will be a part of helping them continue in making a huge difference in the lives of adults with disabilities.
Gene & Marnie Cotton