The Power of a Volunteer

Written by Elena Mamadazarova, Community Development Director

Today’s focus is on one of our High Impact Volunteers at Adelante Thrift, Miss Joyce. Miss Joyce lives in the neighborhood, loves shopping at thrift stores and used to be a frequent shopper at another thrift store in the area. Miss Joyce started shopping at Adelante Thrift when it opened. She soon realized she had a decision to make in her thrift shopping choices, Adelante Thrift became her favorite shopping destination. She used to come to the store and without anyone noticing she would start fixing the clothing section by sizes, gender,  and even color. She was also re-arranging the housewares section without anyone asking her. She was doing it for a while until one day the store’s Executive Director, Antoine Dunn approached her and asked her if she would consider joining the team to assist the staff. Miss Joyce is a retiree and she figured instead of staying home she would come to Adelante Thrift and help. She started to come in to volunteer in November 2015, when she had spare time. Initially she would come only once a week, but it didn’t take long for her to start showing up at the store on daily basis from, 9am - 6pm.

When asked why Adelante Thrift was her shopping choice in comparison to her long history of shopping at her previous favorite thrift store, her answer was simple …”it felt like family, they knew my name before I knew theirs, you come and everyone is nice and friendly”. Immediately Miss Joyce surrounded herself with tasks and is frequently approached by staff for opinions on how things should run in the back production room and on the floor of the store. Besides good people and a friendly atmosphere, “Adelante Thrift is a great store to shop for some unique items” according to Miss Joyce. “The store is kid friendly too, families come with their kids and they love the kids area, where they can play while parents are shopping.”

Last year Miss Joyce was ill and couldn’t come to the store for 3 months, but once she was better she came back to work on jewelry and accessories because it requires less time standing on her feet. “It’s nice to have flexibility as a volunteer and to have the freedom to chose when to come in,  and not feel stressed about being fired for a 3 month absence..” - shares Miss Joyce. The advice Miss Joyce is giving to people that are also in her stage of life is, “if you're retired, you can easily come and find your spot volunteering at the store. If you like fixing things, cleaning, or if you are creative and good with merchandise, if you are good at sorting or organizing, Adelante Thrift is a place for you to use your talents and skills. You will be busy talking with people as well as doing practical things at the store and feel like you are contributing to the wellness of our community.”
Miss Joyce has made so many great friends at the store that last year she went on a week long road trip in an RV to Colorado with Judy, one of the Adelante Thrift staff members. We love stories like Miss Joyce’s and we value how the store is an avenue for people to not only receive but to also give back. Thank you Miss Joyce for your service and your heart for Adelante Thrift.

Current Needs:

  • If you are interested in becoming a High Impact Volunteer, like Miss Joyce, we have many opportunities in various areas of the store. Please visit the Adelante Thrift website for more information: