How One Fredericton Boutique is Making a Change

A local Fredericton used and quality goods store has been giving back to the community in more ways than one.

Changes, located on 1245 Hanwell Rd., offers volunteer employment to people who are trying to get back on their feet. They offer a program called “Changes 360.”

Martha Jo Finnamore, executive director of Changes, says the program is different from others.

“We don’t have a rigid, overly structured program that everyone fits into. “Changes 360” is based on the needs of the individual,” said Finnamore.

The program offers many things to their trainers like life review and planning, mock interviews, learning to dress for success, customer service, and even mentorship beyond the program after they leave Changes to find a job.

Recently, two of their trainees have received a certificate for completing level one that includes customer service, merchandising, personal and professional development, and community engagement.

Changes also offers volunteering jobs to people who have retired, international students who are looking for a new way to learn about the culture and language, or anyone who is looking for volunteer experience.

Changes sells many used and quality items in their store like clothing & shoes, kitchenware, vintage clothing, jewellery, antiques and even wedding and prom dresses!

One person who Changes has affected greatly is Jackie Mudge-Cooke, who has been a trainee at Changes for over a year. She didn’t expect that it would change her in the ways that it did.

“I thought I was ready to enter the work force, but saw myself and realized I wasn’t,” said Cooke.

Cooke now has a job, but she is also still volunteering at Changes while she looks for another job with more hours.

“In the meantime, I still keep coming to Changes, for they need volunteers and I’ve grown to love this place,” said Cooke.

Cooke recommends Changes to anyone who needs something for their resume, or if you are ready for a change of pace.

Finnamore herself started at Changes in 2008 as a volunteer.

“It was just what I needed to regain self-confidence after some deeply personal struggles. I know first-hand what Changes can do and I’ve remained here as both a board member and now executive director,” said Finnamore.

Although Changes has the right ideas in mind, they are still struggling as a non-profit enterprise. They have potential clients who are interested in their program, but they need the public’s help in order for this to happen.

“We do our best with what we are given, but we would appreciate more help. We encourage people including students to shop, donate, and volunteer,” said Finnamore.

Changes is the perfect place for anyone (including students!) who is looking for volunteer experience! And if you’re not looking to volunteer, it’s still a pretty cool place to shop at too!