More Than a Thrift Store

Brian and Victor know how it feels to be battered, frightened, and alone – and their heart-wrenching story is repeated every day here in South Florida.

The brothers came from a family broken by alcohol, abuse and drugs. At the ages of nine and ten, they were removed from the only family they knew and placed into foster care. As the years passed, Brian and Victor moved from one foster home to another to another. Then, as each turned eighteen and “aged out” of the system, they managed to pull together their meager resources and move into a small room together. They were on their own in a frightening, crack-infested neighborhood in Broward County.

Finally, Victor called his Guardian Ad Litem, Barry Ramosa, a 63-year-old grandfather who had always been there for the boys. Barry jumped in, helping the brothers move out of the danger zone and, eventually, into the 4KIDS Independent Living Program. Resident Advisors Zach and Reina Parrish welcomed them, but explained that living there brought responsibilities; including volunteering 40 hours a week at the Second Chance Thrift Store for the rent stipend. This new schedule wasn’t easy for the boys, and things looked bleak when Brian got “fired” as a volunteer.

But God continued working in Brian and Victor’s lives. Thrift Store employee George Montero invited Brian back to the store for a second chance. Mike Massengill reached out to Brian during their commute to work each day. His words had an impact, and Brian recommitted his life to Christ. Meanwhile, Victor was invited to a Labor Day retreat and Second Chance Manager David Drayton encouraged him to give it a try. Victor ended up going and had a great time waterskiing, as well as gaining practical life skills training from Doug Sauder and Ken Lacy from 4KIDS.

Both brothers were being challenged to work hard, persevere through college, and remain faithful. Victor recalls, “For the first time in my life, I saw people who lived what they said and who treated me like family.”

Today, the difference in these young men is profound. Both Brian and Victor are now full-time staff members at Second Chance. “We are very proud to have them here,” Drayton says. “We didn’t just give them a job. We hired them because they are Christian men with a strong work ethic.” Montero adds, “We love these guys, and we believe that God has a plan for them with much bigger responsibilities in the future.”

Your used stuff can help save a life
Not all of us can be foster parents, but everyone can contribute something to help care for modern-day orphans. One thing we can all do is take a few hours to look through our homes and take the stuff we are not using, the gently-used things, and donate them to help others.

Maybe you have a used vehicle or a camper that hasn’t been used lately. Perhaps you have old TV’s, bicycles, or other “stuff” that is not being utilized and is taking up space in your garage. By giving these items to Second Chance, you’ll be doing more than de-cluttering your home. You’ll be helping kids in crisis in our community, and you’ll even get a tax write-off to boot.

Not your ordinary thrift store
The Second Chance Thrift Store isn’t just a low-priced store bursting with new beds, discounted clothes, electronics, furniture and appliances. The 4KIDS of South Florida offices are actually housed in the same building, and the two organizations are intertwined into each other’s culture. “God is doing great things through Second Chance which are directly helping kids in crisis,” shares Bruce Thompson, Communications Director at 4KIDS. “The proceeds from Second Chance go directly to the kids we serve, and last year these gifts amounted to one of the largest donations we received. More significantly, it helped us serve hundreds of kids in crisis. Every week we share a devotional time together where the staff hears the amazing stories of how kids’ lives are being saved through loving families, stories just like Victor and Brian’s.”

Donated items stack up to help the community
David Drayton says his staff of 15 believes in helping people. “We offer a broad range of merchandise at affordable prices for people looking for a real bargain.” Drayton emphasizes it’s not just during the holidays that the community needs to step up. “We need donations year-round, every type of donation you could possibly consider. If you’d give the item to your best friend, then that’s the quality of item we can use.”

To help kids just like Brian and Victor, you can donate “like-new” items to the Second Chance Thrift Store located at 827 South State Road 7, North Lauderdale. Each donation or purchase at directly benefits children in crisis. For more information, call 954-556-4690 or visit shopsecondchance.org. Tax receipts are available for all donations.
For information about providing hope for a child in crisis, visit 4KIDSofSFL.org.

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