The Youth Argus

Choices for Youth’s new store raises money, provides employment for youth

CBC News ·

The newest neighbourhood in St. John’s is a second-hand shop off Torbay Road.

The Neighbourhood is a new store run by Choices for Youth, which provides programs and services for homeless youth.

Chelsey MacNeil, Choices’ director of social enterprise, says the store’s goal is to provide affordable clothing for families.

Grand opening Saturday

“We’ve got kids’ clothes, baby clothes, we’ve got anything that you are looking for — long-sleeve sweaters, pants, skirts, you name it, we probably have it.”

The store opened last weekend but is having a block party from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday as a grand opening.

The new store grew out of a similar shop downtown at Choices’ Duckworth Street location.

“It really went really well. People were really interested,” she said, so Choices decided to expand to help provide work experience for youth.

Chelsey MacNeil, Choices for Youth’s director of social enterprise, says the store will provide youths with important real-world experience. (John Pike/CBC)

“We have lots of donations that come to Choices for Youth and we really felt like it was a good opportunity to provide not only clothes and things for young people that they really need, but to also extend or get those donations to go further by providing them with employment opportunities.”

Choices for Youth staff supervise and run the store, with two youths working at a time.

“Opening the store allows us to provide 125 hours of youth-related employment per week, which is incredible,” said MacNeil.

The youth workers will accept donations and work the cash register.

Youth ‘the heart and the lifeblood’ of the store

“The young people are really the heart and the lifeblood of what makes this store work,” she said.

For youths seeking employment, Choices for Youth programs provide lots of training to help them on the job and in life, said MacNeil.

“Before a young person comes to work at Neighbourhood, or at our construction company, Impact Construction, or at our production facility, they receive life-skills training, and that could be anywhere from financial literacy, financial management to systems management.”

The Neighbourhood is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

With files from The St. John’s Morning Show.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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