CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) – “I used to work at the high school in transition and it was very difficult to find job opportunities, volunteer opportunities for the kids,” says Hope Reinhard who partnered with some parents to launch Re-Read Books & More, filled with gently-used best sellers. Opened in November 2020, it’s a place where young adults with disabilities can find work training.
27-year-old Andrea Costello was first on board, happy to be busy.
“I straighten up the books, take out the trash, clean the floor a million times,” she says.
“Everything is donated, so we don’t have to put out money for inventory,” explains Reinhard. “Books don’t go bad.”
Training includes learning the cash register which helps with social skills. Kim Gentile’s son, 19-year-old Justin, who has a rare disorder, was very isolated during the pandemic before he was vaccinated.
“There were behaviors that developed, regressive behaviors,” says Gentile. “Having him re-immerse into society, socialize, be with people, feel part of something has been tremendous for his self-esteem and confidence.”
The mission is to help these young adults take their new skills into the community. A participant is already working in a nearby cheese shop.
“It makes them feel part of society,” says Reinhard, noting they’re reliable workers, full of talent.
A neighboring annex houses donations – a plentiful array of popular titles. It’s all about supporting this population’s skills and productivity, providing a plan for the future which is beneficial for everyone.
“I like seeing all the little kids come here with their money and want to buy books,” says Costello.
“The community has been fantastic,” adds Reinhard. “It’s really, really taken off.”
These folks hosted a haunted trail in the fall and a holiday stroll last month. Click here for more information.