Issue: 2017-03-01, PHOTO: courtesy of Ryan Alaric
Proud students from the Yukon College Skills for Employment Program.
The Anglican Church thrift store in Watson Lake has nearly doubled in size thanks to carpentry students from the Skills for Employment program run through Yukon College.
The project, which started in October 2016 and ended in January 2017, saw the completion of a 480 foot extension on the store. The eight participating students were drawn from both Watson Lake and the surrounding community of Lower Post. They worked in conjunction with the St. John The Baptist Anglican Church, who supplied $18,000 in building materials for the project.
The thrift store started in the ‘60s and is very popular in the community – so much so that they have been “victims of their own success,” says Jenny Skelton. The store, she says, is so well-used within the community that they simply didn't have enough room to meet demand and so the extension was badly needed.
Skelton volunteers at the store and is chairperson for the Yukon College Campus Committee. The shop sells used clothing, as well as furniture, toys and household items at reduced prices.
“People who can't afford to buy new things come and shop here,” she says. “With the economy so down, lots of people use the store. This way, things get used instead of being thrown out.”
The Skills for Employment program teaches students skills which allow them to go on to full apprenticeship programs and full-time employment, as well as fulfilling needs within the community – an arrangement that Skelton describes as “win-win.”
“We knew we had a college that offered this program and had done similar projects… we spoke to the college about getting this project going and away we went,” Skelton says. “The program helps our communities where the communities need help, and helps people find employment along the way.”
The space created by the project was definitely needed, says Ryan Alaric, the instructor coordinator for the project.
“To have local students take part in the project gives us something to be proud of,” he says. “Yukon College is always trying to meet the needs of the communities and having input from them is always helpful.”
Five females and three males ranging from ages 18 to 61 participated in the project.
“Having women in trades is always a good thing and the women in this project really took the lead,” Alaric says.
The store is a not-for-profit organization, which is usually open only on Saturdays and is run and staffed by volunteers, Skelton says.
“(The store is) really very very grateful for the opportunity to have this extension built… students got to learn valuable skills, we had our project finished and the college was amazing,” she says.
The St. John The Baptist Anglican Church Thrift Store is located on Frank Trail in Watson Lake. It is closed during the winter, opens in April and operates through to Oct. 31.