by Rick Pezzullo –
A new thrift shop in the Community Opportunity Center in Tarrytown has the distinction of being the first enterprise in Westchester County run almost entirely by people with intellectual and learning disabilities.
Thrifty Finds, located at 105 Wildey Street, was the brainchild of YAI (Young Adult Institute) Westchester Direct Support Provider Dyna Denis, who felt such a venture would be beneficial for individuals in the program.
“A lot of these people, if they didn’t have these opportunities, they end up sitting at home,” Denis said. “To start this was a team effort, and everything fell into place.”
Denis and fellow YAI staffer Bridget Estridge oversee about 15 people who work Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. taking inventory, stocking shelves and interacting with customers who frequent the second-floor shop in search of bargains and hidden treasures.
“It’s a remarkable little place,” said Richard Weber, director of strategic communications and external relations for YAI, which supports more than 20,000 individuals with disabilities and their families.
Revenue generated at Thrifty Finds helps support other programs in YAI Westchester’s day habilitation center on White Plains Road in Tarrytown.
“Our store is just one small example of how YAI helps thousands of people with IDD (Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities) every year,” Estridge said. “It truly reflects the extraordinary potential that people with disabilities have to live a full and meaningful life.”
“I love coming to the thrift shop because it’s fun,” said Luz, who works at Thrifty Finds. “The people there are so nice.”
Thrifty Finds is always looking for donations, which are tax deductible. Goods can be dropped off at the Community Opportunity Center, 105 Wildey Street, Monday through Friday, or other arrangements can be made by contacting John Meola, YAI Supervisor of Vocational Teams, at (914) 631-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.