Students learn business through thrift stores

KEOKUK (WGEM) – When Cayden King was in Year 7, he saw that students needed clothes and everyday items.

“I thought about it, and a couple of other kids agreed, and we started building this room here, and we opened a thrift store so we could help kids who needed clothes,” Kim said.

The Chief Exchange Thrift Store offers Keokuk students in need the opportunity to buy used clothing and teaches student workers how to run a business.

The store also provides deodorant, toothbrushes and other toiletries for students who may need it.

The Iowa American Graduate Career Center, also known as iJAG, is working with schools, which is part of the reason the thrift store is here, said Laurie Phelan, president and CEO.

“Whenever young people see themselves giving back and giving in their community, even if these young people have faced difficulties in their own lives, it makes a huge difference,” Phelan said.

She said the mission of the program is to bridge the academic and career gap for students.

“Helping young people understand the relationship between academics and where they are headed in the future helps them participate in their studies, attend school, and also plan for their future careers,” Phelan said.

Now a freshman, King said working at the chief exchange helped him realize what he wanted to do in the future.

“I think I’ll go to college in Iowa, get a degree, become a lawyer, and start a law firm,” King said.

Students can rent back-to-school uniforms for this weekend’s upcoming prom, iJAG education expert Ann Vandenberg said on Chief Exchange this year.

“My students decided to go a step further and rent home gowns to girls who might not be able to afford it or want to spend the money,” Vandenberg said.

The rent for a high school student’s home gown is $25, which will cover the cost of dry cleaning.

Students interested in renting clothes should contact Ann Vandenberg at Keokuk Middle School.

Vandenberg said she hopes to offer prom dress rentals through thrift stores during the spring semester of the school year.

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