Ribbons have long been used as a way to raise public consciousness for a cause. This is true for those working for our community. Over the years, disability awareness has evolved from simply bringing knowledge to also include a focus on advocacy for inclusion and on making people aware of local and national resources and activities.
At the last get-together, the arc Ambassador Civitan Club made over 200 maroon ribbons to help raise awareness for those people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Ambassadors will hand them out to family, friends, and coworkers whenever they have the opportunity.
arc Ambassador and club artist, Jeff Alexander, made a very special banner for our Civitan Club. He did a terrific job and we are proud and grateful for the time Jeff took to create something so wonderful.
After President Michelle Knight opened up the meeting and we recited the Civitan Creed, club secretary Elnaz Sobhi, reviewed the minutes from our last meeting. We learned that our club was featured in the Civitan International magazine. What a proud moment for us and a reminder of our mission to build good citizenship and to reach out in service to others.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Graduating is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. That is the model the Ambassador graduates at arc Thrift Stores know well and embrace in their daily lives. Arc University Class of 2019 had 127 graduates earning eight different degrees of excellence. The evening was filled with love, joy, and a ton of fun for all that attended.
Lloyd Lewis, president and CEO of arc Thrift Stores, provided the opening remarks, introduced the speakers and handed out the diplomas to the graduates. Carol Creech gave an emotional parent tribute and expressed her appreciation for the Ambassador opportunities provided by arc Thrift Sores and Arc University. Carol is the dedicated and loving parent of Lizzie Creech, one of our Ambassadors and a 2019 graduate.
Valedictorian Seth Weshnak, gave all the Ambassadors encouragement by telling his story of perseverance as an arc store employee and his involvement with the University and social events. He gave a moving speech about his start at arc, his accomplishments as a proud cashier, and the three goals he still wants to attain. The highlight for Seth was when Lloyd Lewis announced to the audience that he will grant Seth two of his wishes, becoming a full-time employee and one day working in donations.
The commencement address was given by Denver7 news anchor, and dear friend to our organization, Nicole Brady. Nicole is a tireless arc Ambassador advocate and produces monthly profiles featuring our employees. We are grateful for Nicole’s support of our mission and her love of thrift shopping.
The night was topped off by an entertaining music video of the arc Ambassadors at work, at play, in class, and more importantly, sharing the joy of life together as a very special group of friends. As diplomas were being awarded, the sense of pride and accomplishment from the graduates’ families and friends and for each other was profound.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi
Kingahnah has been working at the arc Centennial store ever since the doors opened. He has been a valued part of the arc team doing whatever task is asked of him throughout a shift. He often works stocking shoes, running racks, and stocking shelves on the floor. Like many other Ambassadors, Kingahnah’s favorite part of the job is the customers that he gets to meet and help on a daily basis. He also enjoys the company of his coworkers and having the pleasure to work with such motivated and kind people.
Kingahnah and his coworker Elnaz were both just interviewed by a local TV station where they were recognized for all of the hard work they have done for arc and their community. Although Kingahnah works hard for arc, he also spends much of his spare time working on his writing and listening and creating music.
Kingahnah is currently working on a book called, The Box, a story about a young female lead rescuing a gentleman from a cult that is trying to recruit him. He enjoys writing suspenseful stories and poetry that take his imagination to crazy new places. While he isn’t writing, Kingahnah is practicing his DJ skills with his turntables. His passion for music started with hip-hop, jazz, and rock, but he has grown to love all different kinds of music.
Elnaz works closely with fellow Ambassador, Kingahnah, at the Centennial arc store. She has also been working at arc since the store opened in 2015. Elnaz was recently interviewed by the local TV station in a special segment for Mothers’ Day.
Elnaz works in the store stocking and organizing shelves, particularly in the kids’ section, but she will always help out wherever she is needed. Elnaz believes that work and life are both great adventures that have opened up wonderful opportunities and allowed her to meet great coworkers and customers.
Elnaz is a very kind-hearted and caring person who wants to make sure everyone is happy and she will do her part to make that happen.
“Customer service is the #1 goal and priority for me.”
When she is not spreading happiness throughout the Centennial store, Elnaz is often found in the bowling alley. She has won two awards in Colorado for Special Olympics bowling. Her highest competing score was 1,699 points in three games to earn her a first place medal. Although they have taken bowling out of the Special Olympics in Colorado, she still enjoys playing with her friends and family whenever she can.
“The things that arc gives us make us smile. They have given us many great opportunities.”- Elnaz
Lorraine works at the JCRS store with her friends, greeting customers as they come in and out of the stores. I met Lorraine a few weeks ago and as soon as she saw me walk into the store she was excited to chat again for the arc blog.
Since we last talked, Lorraine started working with the Civitan volunteer group through arc. With this new project, Lorraine and other Ambassadors will help volunteer at places like local hospitals and animal shelters. Some of the activities Lorraine and the arc Civitan group will be working on are care packages for military families and helping to teach kids how to read. Lorraine loves volunteering in the community and helping others. She is very excited to stay active in the community and to help others who live in the Denver area.
“If I can touch one person, I did my job,” Lorraine tells me in regards to helping others within the community and arc stores.
Lorraine and her friend, Seth, who is also an Ambassador, work together most days at the store and have grown very close over the years. Lorraine remembers having lunch with Seth on his first day at arc.
In her spare time, Lorraine loves taking arc University classes through Arc University in Spanish and practicing her poetry. She is currently looking for a new house and is very excited about the change and for the chance to use her creative side and set everything up in her new home. She is also looking forward to getting a pet bunny once she moves in.
Lorraine is a valued part of arc and loves being able to great all of the customers each day with a smile on her face.
Lorraine shows me the purple fairy she proudly wears every day, made by one of her longtime customers.