Here at ICOSA we believe in doing well by doing good – and this week’s guest has that concept down to a science. ARC Thrift Stores do so much more, beyond supporting organizations that assist the intellectually and developmentally disabled. They do it by employing the disabled, by keeping 20 million pounds of waste from going into landfills, and by serving the 3.2 million people who shop at ARC’s 22 stores in Colorado. To be fair, that’s only part of the story.
This week Jan Mazotti talks with Frances Owens, former First Lady of Colorado and now the Community Relations Director for ARC Thrift Stores.
ARC celebrates their 45th anniversary this year, culminating in their signature Starfish and Dreams Fundraising Gala, Friday September 20th. This special event honors the many ARC Ambassadors and will feature a fashion review, showcasing ensembles curated only from ARC clothing donations. Mark your calendars for a great celebration!
In the realm of donation based thrift stores, ARC is a gem. Conceived as a great social enterprise to fund programs for the disabled, ARC benefits the community in a myriad of ways. Primarily, ARC’s mission is to raise money in their retail stores, which is then distributed to support agencies for the intellectually and developmentally disabled. ARC is also one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the state of Colorado. By collecting donations of unwanted clothes and household items, ARC is able to divert millions of pounds of waste from Colorado landfills – taking the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra to heart.
ARC also encourages other businesses to hire the disabled for simple job positions. Frances Owens tells us that without these employment opportunities, many disabled adults would be sitting at home, frustrated and watching television. Instead, even the simplest job, provides them a sense of purpose, pride in their work, and the benefit of the socialization that working provides.
Jan Mazotti and Frances Owens at our ICOSA Radio Studio.
To support the disabled in their careers, last year ARC University was established, which offers both fun and educational courses for ARC Ambassadors, on topics such as Financial Literacy, How to Navigate Public Transportation, Music Appreciation, Yoga Classes and even how to tie-dye t-shirts.