STANTON — The Treasure Shop has everything a traditional resale shop has, but it isn’t your everyday round-again store.
Staffed by special education students with the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD), The Treasure Shop dual serves as a resale store for the public and a skill builder for the students.
Set to open on Monday, the store will be manned by 15 special education students ages 18 to 26 as part of the Hometown Stanton Transitions Plus program. Students will stock shelves, price items, sort stock, make sales and maintain the store.
“The whole thing is really their thing,” said Lauri Zimmerman of the MAISD. “It’s going to help them with interacting with the public. This might help them get a job down the road sometime, maybe in a retail setting, and helps them with their money skills.”
The goal is to hone the students skills as the transition into the workforce while also serving the public.
“The goal is to learn employability skills and independent skills,” said Kathleen Flynn, associate superintendent of special education at MAISD.
The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.
While the students are learning skills, the public is benefiting from a resale shop that sells a wide variety of items, all accepted as donations.
“Everything we have is by donation,” Zimmerman said. “We’re looking for gently used items, just about anything and everything.”
The money raised will go directly back to maintaining the store and any additional profit will be used for field trips for the students.
“We just moved to this building last year. We wanted to come up with income for outings,” Zimmerman said. “We don’t do field trips. If we do go out, we don’t go far. It’s just not in the budget.”
In addition to running the store, students conduct daily activities at the center, which also serves as the Hometown Stanton Transitions Plus site. The program was previously at the Seiter Center in Greenville.
“We really felt strongly that we needed to move out of the school and into the community,” Flynn said.
Students learn to do household duties like cleaning, vacuuming, cooking, dishes, laundry and more. Several students also work at different businesses throughout the community and volunteer for different organizations as part of the program.
“That’s really the goal is employment or active volunteerism,” Flynn said. “The goal is definitely to be as individual as possible.”
The students also participate in as much community outreach as they can. They prepared food for contestants at the Yellow Jacket Challenge 5K, which scheduled for Sunday in Greenville, and also plan to make sandwiches for the I’m Kids 3rd Meal program, which provides sack dinners for students in need.
“We really want to improve our community so we get out and volunteer, getting out into the community so they can be seen,” said Bob Hemmingsen, a teacher at Transition Plus.