Giving men a second chance in life

Giving men a second chance in life »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- A local thrift store has now been giving back to the community for two years. The Teen Challenge thrift store in Pasco works to help men get a second chance at life. Many were former gang members or addicted to drugs.

Jared Abbott has been a cashier at the thrift store for three months. His job here is part of the Teen Challenge program. After years of being on the streets, Jared joined the program to turn his life around. He's a recovering heroin addict.

"I was doing whatever it took to get my next fix," he said. "I was breaking into cars, stealing purses and stealing money, whatever it took."

Jared was sick of getting himself into trouble. He calls the program life-changing.

"In these three months, I've really grown a lot, spiritually and physically," he said.

The Teen Challenge program is part of a national organization that's been around for decades. Locally, it began seven years ago. The thrift store itself opened just two years ago.

Workers don't get paid; instead, they learn responsibility and how to be more productive in society. The money goes back into the program.

Frank Gomez is the manager. He watches dozens of students enter the program, helping as many as he can to complete the full year. He graduated from the program himself seven years ago.

"That's the whole reason why I decided to stay in Teen Challenge and continue with Teen Challenge, because I want to see other lives be impacted the way my life has been impacted," Frank said.

He says, in the last three weeks, the program pace has really picked up.
More students want to be a part of it.

"I want to give back to the program, I want to give back to the community, I want others to be blessed the same way I've been blessed, and to be set free from the addictions like I've been set free," Frank said.

Jared says he's had his ups and downs, but he wants to beat the odds and graduate.

"I'm grateful for the experience that I have here to come and have fellowship with real-life people and to be trusted with a cashier job," he said. "It's awesome."

The thrift store, located on Sylvester Street in Pasco, is always accepting donations. They will even come to your house and pick items up.