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Detroit resale shop helps teach real-life skills to students with special needs

Children learn how to shop, work in stores

DETROIT – A Detroit boutique is helping to teach students with special needs real-life skills that will have a major impact for years to come.

Shopping can be a type of art. How do you shop? What size are you? How do you save for the items you really need? Those are the things students are learning at Drew's Boutique.

Charles R. Drew Transition Center in Detroit serves as a post-secondary special education facility for students ages 18-26. Its focus is to help students who are moderately to severely cognitively impaired.

"Getting them ready for real-world skills and to act like proper young adults," said Jay Greenberg, vocational coordinator of the Drew Transition Center.

There's a bank, a post office, a flower shop and a laundry class. Most recently, a resale shop has opened, and it's very popular with the students.

Students can shop with Drew bucks, which they earn in the classroom if they have good behavior. Once they've saved up enough Drew bucks, it's time to shop.

"It's like my favorite thing, and clothes in here look nice, so I come in here and I buy anything I want," student Tashey Jackson said.

The students don't just shop, they also learn how to work in a store.

"Our students sort by color," teacher Rolanda Houston-Lewis said. "They hang. They fold."

Drew's Boutique recently got a large shipment of donations from a resale shop in Berkley called Sum Girls Boutique. The donation was a huge help to get Drew's Boutique up and running, but the shop needs more donations.

Click here to email Greenberg if you would like to donate anything from clothes, shoe racks, hangers and more. He can also be reached over the phone at 313-873-5341.


About the Authors:

Derick Hutchinson

Derick Hutchinson is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications and a focus in journalism. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.