AP referred to himself and Bryan as modern day Robin Hoods. There are many myths and tales to this heroic character; however, none quite as fabulous as the entrepreneurs of Neighborhood Thrift. Taking from the rich and giving to the poor has taken on a whole new meaning; however, that is the small part. AP and Bryan are far from the mythical tales of Robin Hood. They have created an urban module of sustainability in the community. Partnering with other organizations to develop and teach others important skills that they never knew they had is positive and progressive. People have missed opportunities in some way, yet Neighborhood Thrift is allowing them to acquire something they lost. Prior to our class meeting some colleagues and I talked about how we need organizations such as Neighborhood Thrift.
Gangs have a bad reputation because they do terrible things to people within their communities. However, if you take out that equation and really look at a gang and the people who make up the gang, they have the natural abilities and talents that some of us wish we had. They are natural leaders and salesmen. They are loyal, respected, and make their own opportunities. If someone had taken the time to help each member develop their natural abilities to do something positive what we know as gangs today wouldn’t exist.
There are other businesses that offer something similar to Neighborhood Thrift. Collaborating with these organizations and looking at how they operate would be beneficial. The one organization that comes to mind is Worth the Weight (www.worthourweight.org) in Santa Rosa CA. Similar to Neighborhood Thrift; Worth the Weight is a Community Benefit Organization who helps people ages 16-24 that have faced major challenges in their lives develop skills through culinary arts.