By Jay Greenberg Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

As the in-house vocational coordinator for the Drew Transition Center, a center-based facility that helps 18-26-year-old young mentally/physically challenged adults in Wayne County/Detroit Public Community Schools find their place in the world.  I tell people that don’t know about the Charles Drew Transition Center that it is like the Detroit Schools/Wayne County version of the Friendship Circle. Our curriculum and opportunities include in-house stores, vocational programs, gardening/hydroponics and much more as they prepare for adulthood.

I always have one eye open and one ear listening for vocational opportunities.  I was so fortunate to have been listening as my wife and children rave about Robyn Coden and her store, Sum Girls Boutique in Berkley.

I always look for new and exciting opportunities for our mentally and physically challenged work skills students who don’t go out for job opportunities and “stay back” so they have real life experiences and opportunities that are not always pencil and paper related as Principal Robert Avedisian told me he wanted students to experience when he brought me on board.

After meeting and talking to Robyn about “our” in-house Drew Boutique, she graciously agreed to donate all unsold clothing items to our Drew Boutique.  This partnership not only brought communities together with the donations from Robyn’s store, but gave these students an opportunity to shop in a realistic store, learn how to stock and run a store, but also allow students to buy items for themselves, loved ones, and enjoy these new and slightly used clothing as well.  Some of the female were so excited they ran directly to the bathroom, tore off the tags, and put on the items displaying such loving smiles!

While picking up the weekly bags/donations, I had an idea that I shared with Robyn about having a donation day for both young ladies and young men to help us keep items in stock for both men and ladies since we are also in need of men’s clothing as well.  Our boutique director/teacher Rolanda Houston-Lewis and her mother-in law loved the idea!

Our idea was coming to a reality with the partnership of these two boutiques! This solution was just one more special addition this year with the Drew Boutique reopening and looking for ways to find ideas to keep clothing in stock.

There is also another positive swing on how the Drew Boutique is operated.  Students use what is called “Drew Bucks” as part of the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) program.  They “purchase” items with “Drew Dollars” they received from positive tasks completed.

Jay Greeberg works for Detroit Public Schools as Charles R. Drew Transition Center In-House Vocational Coordinator

Event: Sum Girls Boutique “Community Connection” young girls/boys donations
3015 12 Mile Road
Berkley, Michigan  48072
Event Drop-offs are on:
Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday: 1-4 p.m.