Danielle’s story is not just of her survival, but of her ability to find success and grow. She and her siblings had difficult childhoods. Danielle’s own path brought her to Winnipeg with two young children, where she remarried, only to lose her husband and her son within three years of each other. Experiencing such grief and loss in such a short period of time brought on depression; it became a serious struggle just to survive and carry on. It was through these losses that Danielle was able to tap into the resources of Thrive Community Support Circle.

Danielle started as a client and is now a staff member in the Thrive Thrift Shop. She overcame the lingering trauma of an abused childhood, as well as the death of her adult son. With the help of Thrive, Danielle was able to find a way out of isolation and depression and she now has hope, a job she loves, and all the tools she needs to move forward in her life. After graduating from Thrive’s Leadership Development course, Danielle moved from being a Warehouse Coordinator to the Store Supervisor and Head Volunteer Trainer.

Taking charge of her life this way makes Danielle true leadership material.

Taking charge of her life this way makes Danielle true leadership material.


If you’ve been to the Thrive Thrift Shop in the past year, you’ve most definitely seen a bubbly person with a smiley face behind the cash register desk. Chelsea has been with Thrive for over a year, first as a volunteer, then as a paid cashier.

I started volunteering at Thrive Thrift Shop because I needed work experience and heard about this place from a friend who had volunteered for a few days. I was nervous but also really excited to get back into work after being off for about 10 years. I used to be physically and mentally unwell, until I finally got help for my lifelong eating disorder through a program at the HSC Clinic.”

Chelsea, determined to overcome this disorder, quickly progressed at the clinic and was able to leave the course early.  This in turn gave her the confidence she needed to return to a work setting. Chelsea knew she would have to return to work in stages so she started by accepting a volunteer position at Thrive Thrift Shop. Thrive was a perfect place for her to engage with others and continue her path of healing. She found herself enjoying it immediately. 

I like that we get a lot of regular customers. It adds to the experience to know them on a personal level. It’s nice to make them feel good when they come here. And, I like that it’s more flexible for my physical limitations.”

It’s significant that Chelsea was able to twice take a chance that initially scared her—first in getting help, and then in returning to work—and she came out smiling both times.  So, what would Chelsea say to someone else who might also be afraid of stepping out of a scary situation? 

She answers in her recognizably forthright and bubbly manner: “JUST DO IT! Because you never know what good can come out of it. Whatever happens will be a learning experience. You may never feel ‘ready’, so…you just gotta take the leap!”

JUST DO IT! Because you never know what good can come out of it.


Addie Schlamp is in her 90s, and has been volunteering with the Thrive Thrift Shop for over 10 years!

“I first got involved with the shop the day I walked in with my friend Barb,” explains Addie.  “They needed someone to work on Saturdays so I started to do that and the occasional Wednesday. It was definitely something new as I had never been in a thrift store before!

“The first thing I noticed was that there was A LOT of stuff in the back!  In fact, there is a great selection of goods, and you can always find something new. It wasn’t long after I started that I found myself really enjoying meeting with the customers and listening to their stories.”

In fact, that’s part of what keeps it interesting for Addie: the people she meets.

“It feels like a family,” she says. “You get to know them personally and get to know them by name. Some of them have passed on since I started volunteering here.”

But there’s one customer who stands out.

“That would be Joe!” exclaims Addie. “Because he jokingly said that it took me too long to get back after breaking my shoulder.”

Addie’s friends and family were quite happy to find out she volunteers at Thrive.

“It gets me out (of the house) and keeps me active and social. In fact, I would advise anyone thinking about volunteering or donating to the store to just do it. It’s a great experience and a great feeling to be helping people in need.”

And what does she do when she’s not at the store?

“You’ll find me either gardening, playing bridge, visiting sick friends, or knitting.”

Thank you for all your dedication to our store and customers, Addie!

Did you know that Thrive Thrift Shop is completely run by volunteers? It takes about 100 volunteers a year doing over 2,000 hours of service to the store!  That’s about 60,000 hours of donated time in the last 30 years! A round of applause for our caring volunteers!

It feels like a family


Phyllis started work in the warehouse part of the Thrive Thrift Shop, sorting and pricing items. Margie joined a little later. Whether on their own, or as a team, they have been amazing volunteers. For instance, when the shop was running short of plastic bags Phyllis and Margie canvassed some of the large stores in the area to donate bags that were destined for the landfill.  One time Margie got her ladies church group to help a colleague to collect clothes for infants. And Phyllis has been dedicated to helping out the jewelry department, taking the donated jewelry home, sorting, cleaning, bagging and pricing the items on her own time.

Part of the work they did together was to try to keep the store as well stocked as possible with items needed by people living in the area. Also, on many occasions they would take clothing home to repair and then return them in clean, working order.

One story that really stands out was the time two young women came into the store looking for clothes. One of them explained their mission: “My friend is going to a job interview tomorrow morning and needs something suitable.”  Jackets and skirts were found but not a good matching top. Finally, Phyllis said to Margie, “You have the perfect top. The one you’re wearing!” Margie went into the kitchen, took off her top (and put on a replacement) and handed this top to the young woman. She was thrilled that someone would literally offer the shirt off her back to help her out.  We don’t know if the young woman got the job after buying the perfect top in such an unusual manner, but Phyllis and Margie definitely felt good about going that extra mile to help someone. In fact it’s what a lot of our volunteers do.

Phyllis and Margie have since moved on from volunteering at the shop but want everyone to know how happy they are to have contributed to the success of the Thrift Shop, and that these days you may see them on the other side of the counter, shopping as customers.

They wish to give thanks and blessings to all who made their time at the Thrive Thrift Shop a happy and enjoyable one.

She was thrilled that someone would literally offer the shirt off her back to help her out.


Montreal-born Mikaelle has been volunteering at the Thrive Thrift Shop since January of 2017. She took our Leadership Development Program and after graduation started training new volunteers, which she now does in addition to being our head cashier on Saturdays. We asked Mikaelle how she felt about working at Thrive. For example, did she see any challenges at first, and if so, how did she overcome them?

“When I first started volunteering at Thrive, I felt super shy,” admits Mikaelle, “because my previous employers did not accommodate my health needs, so I was concerned there would be the same problems here at Thrive. Not so! In fact, at Thrive I feel very valued. The people here understand and respect me.”

“I admit there have sometimes been challenges just dealing with the public. That can take its toll on you. But in fact I don’t avoid it, rather I choose to accept it, find and follow the proper protocol. And, if I still find myself drained from it, well, then I just take a few minutes to balance myself.”

Mikaelle’s decision to face challenges head-on has in fact helped her gain confidence in problem solving and dealing with customers. She enjoys it more now.

“Oh yes,” agrees Mikaelle, “In fact it seems like I’m always laughing now. People here make me laugh a lot! So, yes, it’s enjoyable. I especially enjoy the diversity of people, not only the different ethnicities but also different types of people.”

What are her immediate plans for the future?

“I believe I will benefit by continuously developing my work ethic,” confirms Mikaelle. “Problem solving and exploring new areas to help me gain experience when I enter new employment.”

We’d say that was spoken like a leader!

At Thrive I feel very valued. The people here understand and respect me.