Asya Milton completed her senior project by volunteering for three weeks here at The Resource Exchange. Asya is graduating cum laude from Germantown Academy this June and will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall.
My Time at The Resource Exchange by Asya Milton
One of my graduation requirements was to complete a “senior project” at the end of the school year. For this project some of my peers chose to do things such as shadowing doctors or traveling, but I knew I wanted to come back to The Resource Exchange. The project requires you to do something outside of school that is either fruitful for the community or that is an enriching cultural or intellectual experience. One could argue that working here is both good for the community and builds one’s intellect about the environment, especially as far as reuse and recycling goes.
I already knew about The Resource Exchange because I had interned here about two summers ago through the Steppingstone Scholars program. During that joyous time, I worked about fifteen hours a week for five weeks. Because of the connections I made and wonderful memories I had, I knew I needed to come back. Besides the kind employees, what drew me back to The Resource Exchange was the mission. The determination to spread environmental awareness and great reuse and recycling habits left an impression on me. To this day it pushes me to want to give the same positive influence on others.
As an aspiring artist, I also really like The Resource Exchange. Not only does the shop provide art/crafting supplies but it also helps promote the art community. One of my favorite things is to see the reCreate featured artist exhibits. It gives local artists, who also use reclaimed materials, a chance to show off their work and even sell their pieces. To be honest, when I think of The Resource Exchange these exhibits are the one of things that comes to mind. I love the art gallery so much. I have always thought that giving smaller artists a chance to show off is important because though they aren’t as famous as Monet or Van Gogh, their work could be just as great. People just need to learn about them. Art seems to flow in and out this place and I love it.
But there isn’t only art! They have all sorts of items from jewelry to hardware and I find the diversity in stock fascinating. There is always at least one interesting thing we see a day, whether the item is super cute or very weird. Some highlights include the creepy glass dolls and the adorable cuckoo clock. I also find a lot of the items donated from the movie sets to be really cool. It’s like bringing a piece of the movie with you home. For example there have been very nice small sculptures, and interesting vases, among others things.
Even though I haven’t worked here in almost two years, a lot of the tasks are very familiar to me, so it’s a lot easier to do things this time around. I complete many different types of tasks to help the staff around the store, from sorting buttons to hanging fabric. It’s interesting how much you learn from the simplest tasks. For example, I learned how to properly secure picture frames with cardboard so the glass wouldn’t bounce around and break. I also learned their method for folding cloth which makes it so that every fold looks pretty consistent and the end result is a nice clean rectangle.
I think one of my favorite tasks is bundling fabric. I don’t know why, but it’s pretty satisfying to see a piece of fabric rolled nicely into a small bundle. It’s probably good that I don’t mind working with fabric because there is always a lot of it to be sorted and put into the store. Speaking of sorting, I do a lot of that too with all kinds of materials. As Ms. Karyn once said the only way this stuff can be of any use to anyone is if it’s sorted properly. Customers don’t have time to search through mumble jumbled items that shouldn’t belong in one section together. That’s why going through donations carefully and finding perfect spot for them in the store is very important.
I also don’t go through one day without putting prices on some items. The way this works is that the staff will set things up according to price and I will write the prices on there for them. It saves them a lot of time and I’m happy to do it. Some of the other tasks I have completed include: bringing in donations, sprucing up the store, and unpacking boxes.
This work has become important to me. As the world progresses and becomes more advanced, I believe humans as a whole need to keep the environment in mind. Reuse and recycling have become essential. There are many issues right now when it comes to our planet’s ecosystem, from the pollution on the streets to the depleting o-zone layer. Reuse and recycling help fix part of Earth’s problems and The Resource Exchange is a part of the solution. All of the materials in the store can be reused by customers and given a new home instead of being thrown away and rotting in a landfill. More importantly everything in the store was given by someone who didn’t throw the items away, which goes to show that The Resource Exchange gives people a way to help the Earth. And even if things cannot be reused, the materials are recycled in their proper spot from the fabric recycling pile, to the plastic recycling bin. Everything happens in an environmentally conscious manner. If everyone reused something or recycled properly the world could be a lot better and healthier.
In all, I don’t really have one specific reason why I wanted to come back. I like the store for all of it’s perks. As I wrap up my final days and my project is coming to an end, I am grateful for my time spent here and the overall experience. I have enjoyed every second and I definitely will be coming back someday.
Thank you for all your hard work Asya! It was a pleasure having you back at the re and you will be missed!