BRANDON — Thanks to the success of the Community Roundtable’s spring Community Service Forum, the LifePath Hospice thrift store, called Life’s Treasures, has about 30 teenage volunteers, mostly from Newsome High School, helping out this summer.
Students who want to qualify for Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships are required to complete between 30 and 100 hours of community service, and it can be a challenge to find places to earn those hours. At the same time, nonprofit organizations constantly seek volunteer help. The annual Community Service Forum helps meet both these needs.
Sixteen-year-old rising Newsome sophomore Campbell Sarah McAneny, who hopes to become a nurse, said she was looking for volunteer opportunities when, at the forum, she “found the thrift shop, and it sounded like fun.” She spends 10 hours a week at the store, organizing and pricing clothes, working the cash register and helping customers.
Generally retirees staff Life’s Treasures, said manager Cheryl Ann Haley. Now it is also full of teens who are learning about LifePath Hospice, gaining practical work skills and mingling with their retired counterparts.
Haley has worked corporate retail her whole life and recently earned a Master of Arts degree in Christian studies with an emphasis in youth ministry to aid in her work with church youths. She never imagined it would prepare her for a job managing a hospice thrift store.
She scheduled a Saturday orientation for students the weekend after Newsome hosted the forum and a second orientation the Tuesday after school got out for the summer, so the kids could hit the ground running.
The students’ association with the LifePath Hospice thrift store also has provided an occasion for some to visit residents of Savannah Court, an assisted-living facility in Brandon.
Trader Joe’s in South Tampa donates flowers for LifePath Hospice patients. The first week of July, Haley took three teenage girls to deliver flowers to Savannah Court. The three were surprised by the experience, said Haley, and all three want to go back again.
Student volunteer Mc-Aneny has learned how good the deals are at the shop. She bought a dress at a fraction of the cost of a new one. But, she said, the best thing about being at the shop is “getting to meet new people and learning a lot, and it’s good to get your hours in now before you’re scrambling to get them all!”
Prospective volunteers are welcome to contact Haley at Life’s Treasures Thrift Store at (813) 653-4616.