Brenda Young is the Manager at New Generations, the Association’s used clothing store. She has been employed with the Association since 1982, and since that time has gained experience in many facets of the organization, including the bottle depot, administration, the woodshop and supervisory roles in Vocational Services.
The Daisyfresh Diaper Service operated from 1986 to 1998. As Supervisor of the service, Brenda remembers having nightmares about not having enough diapers for customers. Four clients working along with two staff processed all the diaper orders through one washer and two dryers. At times, everyone would get involved to get the job done. It got to the point that the business wasn’t feasible because of the price of the diapers and the availability of disposable products.
Brenda says working with the disabled has been “at times rewarding and, at other times, frustrating.” She finds that it is different working with handicapped adults as compared to children. The progression that you would see with young students in a school situation is not always a reality in the case of adult clients. Many clients stay in service for a long time and in some ways that is good. At the same time, Brenda sees that there is the possibility to set people up for failure because the staff is always there for clients to fall back on. She thinks if the organization wasn’t set up in the way it is, perhaps more of the clients might move on.
A change that Brenda notices with the clients in the Association is that most get out into the community daily or at least once a week. In the early years, that didn’t happen. There was a big yellow bus that took clients to and from work and they didn’t go out much beyond that.
One challenge Brenda faces as Manager of New Generations is what she refers to as “productivity versus client issues.” A constant effort is made toward making New Generations independent of outside support.”
New Generations pays for the orders they receive as opposed to the competition such as Value Village, Salvation Army and Goodwill, whose goods are obtained through donations.
We pay for the orders that come in here. We compete with Value Village, Salvation Army and Goodwill, where everything that comes in is free. That’s one way in which I feel it is hard for us to make money.
The philosophy behind this approach is “not to put New Generations out in the community as charity organization. Because we pay for the goods, we can be sure of good quality.”