With more than eighty percent of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities unemployed, finding gainful employment can prove a daunting and challenging task.
The Treasure Box thrift store, located in Lockport, on the other hand, consistently advocates the great worth, importance, and acceptance of those with developmental disabilities by offering jobs to the disabled within the community.
TTB recently celebrated their ten-year anniversary with a ribbon cutting on December 5. The grand reopening unveiled a retail space, which has now doubled in size.
The thrift store is a supportive employment program offered through Lafourche ARC that provides those with disabilities the support systems needed to reach their full potential.
In short, TTB remains dedicated to accepting all persons as individuals with their own capabilities and contributions to society.
We spoke to Vocational Coordinator, Kari Melancon who said, “Everyone deserves a chance to be employed in a setting of their choice, using their particular skills, and contributing in a manner that utilizes their strengths. Whether it is in a program which offers support to many people in one setting, or an individual job at a mom and pop establishment, or major company, the chance to be employed should not be overlooked because it does not meet a ‘standardized’ definition of employment prescribed by our government.”
“Every person who works at this program has a story. Many of them who work inside the building had lost their work activities when a ceramics program shut down after a worker in charge of that program sought other employment. They needed a program that would keep them employed, and would not be dependent on the skill set of one person. They needed employment that would be meaningful and stand the test of time.
“The Treasure Box has provided them with real work that keeps them busy, exposes them to the same real life situations that any worker faces, and immerses them in the same community environments that all workers experience, and it does so while meeting their individual needs,” explained Kari.
We asked what the most significant needs of TTB were and Kari responded, "Community support of our program is very good. We are very blessed with donations and even some very committed volunteers. Our greatest need is to get the word out there that our program exists so that we can increase sales, and continue to support our mission.
“We also need the public to understand that these work programs receive funding through Medicaid dollars. Cuts to human services programs dependent on Medicaid have huge effects on our ability to continue to provide services to people with developmental disabilities. We are making every effort to expand our ability to support our organization in addition to Medicaid funds. The support of the public in the form of patronage to our work programs is extremely helpful.”
Employment for those with varying disabilities has many attributes such as providing workers with a source of identity, normality, financial support, and self-reliance.
The community's help in supporting a great cause such as this is vital to the program's success. TTB accepts monetary gifts as well as donations of gently used furniture, clothing, and household items, which will continue to provide job opportunities for those with developmental disabilities.
In addition to the Treasure Box in Lockport, Lafourche ARC employs disabled workers at other programs such as Grenier Industries, St. John Treasure Box, and Signs R Us in Thibodaux.
The Treasure Box, located at 5811 Hwy. 1 in Lockport, is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and on the first Saturday of the month from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
For more information, contact The Treasure Box at 985-532-4000, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lafourche ARC at 985-447-6214.
Posted on Tue, December 12, 2017
by Holly McKeon, Contributing Writer