Second Chance Pays It Forward


Many of you know the big picture of what we’re all about – providing workforce development, material reuse, historical preservation and waste stream diversion by hiring and training folks who have experienced various barriers to employment. We primarily do so through our booming retail store, active donations process, and the deconstruction of homes and buildings in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.

Often, however, there are stories along the way that would escape the public’s eye were we not to shine a light on them.  Here are a couple such “feel good” vignettes we thought you might enjoy….

We were recently pleased to receive a donation of some high-end bedroom furniture from a family who wanted to advance our job training programs. As our receiving department began to process the items, however, they made a startling discovery. Locked inside a small drawer s an amazing collection of highly-valued jewelry!

We contacted the donor, only to discover that the mother had been frantically searching for the treasures for 18 months. You see, they were special not only because of the their financial value, but even more so because they were gifts of love from her late husband.

Needless to say, the donor was beyond thrilled to be reunited with her meaningful memories. And we were beyond delighted to give the items a second chance to bring joy to a mother’s heart.

About the same time, a customer was strolling through our eclectic art gallery. She did a double-take when a certain picture of Fells Point in Baltimore caught her eye. Recognizing the artist as her friend’s late mother, she let her know where the treasure was located.

Emotions welled up as the daughter laid her eyes on the familiar work of her mother, who had passed away only months before. In the daughter’s words:

“We were delighted to find that you had taken the time to look up my mother to find out as much as you could about her, and that the painting had been considered by your art specialist to be worth the price on it. We tentatively asked whether the price would ever go down. Imagine our delight and gratitude when you told us we could have the painting at no charge! Tears come to my eyes as I write this today. Your kindness means so much to me and all my family. Coincidentally, this took place on what would have been my parents 71st wedding anniversary.”

We could tell you more stories, like about the lady who happened to drive by her childhood home in Arlington last month, only to discover that we were in the process of deconstructing it to resell the usable materials. Of course we let her select a few architectural elements to keep as a special family memory. The knocker she remembered her late parents installing when she was a little girl will hold a valued position on her new mantle.

Sure, in each of these and other cases we could have put the proceeds to good use. After all, there are considerable costs involved in our nonprofit enterprises. But we rightfully decided that putting a smile on the faces of families was the best use ever! Indeed, “second chances” sometimes come in unexpectedly delightful ways.

Grateful for your support that allows us to “pay it forward,”

Your Second Chance Team