School’s thrift store to provide transition for special needs students

by Charlie Koenig - Posted on Nov 17, 2010 - 04:41 PM

Mathews High School special education teacher Cathy Walker has hit upon a rather nifty idea—or should we say, thrifty idea—to help special needs students transition from the classroom to the community.

The Thrifty Spot, a thrift store operated by 16- to 22-year-old students with significant cognitive disabilities, will open its doors to the public on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The school division is renting the building on Cricket Hill Road in Hudgins that formerly housed Curves to operate the business.

Speaking at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Mathews County School Board in the MHS media center, Louise LeBron, director of special education and federal programs, called this project "a labor of love" and one that’s been in the works for quite some time.

About three years ago, the school division had been offered the Davidson house near the intersection of Route 14 and Glebe Road for use as a transition program, teaching independent living and vocational skills there.

However, LeBron said, to bring the building up to code for this use was "way beyond our budget." So eventually, LeBron said, "we went to plan B."