Center a Treasure for workers

Chasedee Noto loves her job greeting and helping customers at the new Treasures of the ARC resale shop.

Noto, who works the cash register and folds and sorts clothes, said she “gets to do all kinds of things” thanks to the shop’s recent opening.

Noto and others with developmental disabilities are employed thanks to the program started in October by Community Opportunities - The ARC of East Ascension.

Jennifer Bagala said that while this isn’t her first job, it’s her favorite because it doesn’t involve washing dishes.

Bagala said her previous jobs at restaurants all involved washing dishes “and I don’t really like washing dishes.”

Bagala said she enjoys her time sweeping the floors, sorting the clothes and arranging the items on the shelves. And, she likes meeting the customers.

That interaction with the community and sense of accomplishment is what program organizer Cheryl Rice said the agency was hoping for.

The nonprofit agency’s vision is to “see a future for people with disabilities that is all-inclusive and ensures a quality of life through education, employment, family/community involvement, housing, recreation and access to services,” according to its website.

To meet that vision, Rice said, the agency provides several work training and educational programs that help employ those with disabilities.

ARC has a center at S.E. Ascension Complex Boulevard in Gonzales and operates a Respite and Adult Day Health Care facility on Purpera Avenue.

ARC clients are employed in janitorial services, lawn and ground maintenance, at restaurant and at other businesses, she said.

The resale shop, at 108 E. Ascension St., in Gonzales, provides another opportunity for job skill training, she said.

Treasures of the ARC manager Kay Deslatte said the community response to the shop has helped stock the shelves and bring in customers.

She said workers have been busy sorting clothes and other items.

“They’re learning from each other and from the interaction with the community,” Deslatte said. “The community response has been tremendous.”

Six people with disabilities are working at the store and three more are preparing to join the staff, Rice said.

The shop is filled with racks of clothes, shoes, small furniture items, household items and Christmas decorations.

New and used jewelry and purses are also for sale.

“And, we’re planning our first sale soon,” Rice said.

Deslatte’s experience in resale shops has come in handy, Rice said. She uses several resources to price and value items.

While they haven’t found any large “treasures” yet, one donation has met with quite a bit of excitement.

Sitting in store was a foosball machine that is headed to the ARC’s center.

“We’ll get more use out of it than by selling it,” Rice said. “They’re excited about having it at the center.”

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

The store accepts donations during regular hours and customers can call to make arrangements to drop of items at other times, Rice said.

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