YEP Thrift Works opened this month on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The thrift store is an expansion of YEP's Trafigura Work and Learn Center, which provides job training and an educational stipend to at-risk youths ages 16 to 24.
"We teach them real-life job skills they can utilize in the real world," says Tania Dall, director of communications for the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). "The idea is to teach these young people entrepreneurship, customer service and how to run a store."
YEP's other ventures include YEP Design Works, where young people learn graphic design skills, and YEP Bike Works, where they learn to build, refurbish and repair bikes. "It's a six-week program, so they go through the bike shop, thrift store or graphic design, depending on their interest," Dall says.
Twenty percent of YEP Thrift Work staffers are graduates of the six-week program, says development assistant Marc Roberson. YEP Thrift works sells gently used housewares, books, DVDs, and men's and women's clothing, which ranges in cost from $3 for a shirt to $5 for a dress. Proceeds benefit YEP. Donations are welcomed. Visit www.youthempowermentproject.org for more information.