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Dragonfly Thrift Boutique
This is no ordinary thrift store.
Dragonfly Thrift Boutique opened earlier this year blocks from the heart of Little Havana and it seems that someone did their homework. Encompassing almost the entire ground floor of a six-story storage building right on Calle Ocho, this lively space is a thrift shopper’s dream. Spacious, clean and thoughtfully laid out, the store offers savvy Miami shoppers and curious tourists a wide variety of items, from women’s and men’s designer and vintage clothes (think Michael Kors, Free People, vintage Dior), shoes, bags and accessories; to furniture, home décor, books, art and “conversation starters.” All of the merchandise is donated and only the items in good condition and deemed hip, funky, stylish, fun and desirable by Dragonfly’s fashion and décor-obsessed staff make it onto the sales floor.
What makes Dragonfly truly unique, however, is that every cent of the proceeds from sales goes to LEAP, a local nonprofit that works with women who are transitioning from prison back into society. Through an eight-month, 300-hour long education program that teaches practical employment, entrepreneurship and essential life skills, LEAP provides women the tools to leave the prison cycle behind them. Indeed, this process is what inspired the name of the store. The dragonfly, with its symbolic attributes – Power, Clarity, Wisdom, Change, Maturity, Adaptability and the ability to Transform – was the perfect metaphor for the LEAP graduate experience.
Yvette Bravo, President of LEAP adds, “When shoppers come in to Dragonfly they are told about the purpose of the store. Our experience is that they are impressed by the work that LEAP is doing to improve the lives of women returning to the community. The shoppers themselves become part of the environment of acceptance and the support we seek to create in the overall community.”
In addition to benefiting LEAP financially, Dragonfly often employs LEAP graduates where they learn on-the-job-skills and earn an income as they integrate back into society. “We are thrilled that the Dragonfly Thrift Boutique is giving us the opportunity to offer employment and training to LEAP graduates coming out of prison. It takes a lot of stress out of their reentry to know that as soon as they get out of prison they can have a job and start to support themselves and their families.” Said Gemma Garcia, CO-Founder and VP of LEAP.
When someone leaves prison, they have nothing but the clothes on their back. When a LEAP graduate leaves prison, LEAP provides her with the essentials — a warm welcome outside the prison gate, transportation, clothing, toiletries, a cell phone, and employment and housing resources. Moreover, she is prepared with the skills to avoid drugs and crime, and find a job. Studies have shown that this critical period of time can have a significant impact on the women’s probability of returning to prison.
The program, founded in 2009, has been a success. Helping the LEAP graduates transcend the circumstances that landed them in prison initially, LEAP’s recidivism rate (percentage who return to prison) is less than 5% – compared to two-thirds of ex-prisoners nationally (2005 study, Bureau of Justice Statistics, DOJ).
Has there ever been a better reason to go shopping?
How you can help:
Shop, shop, shop! Dragonfly Thrift Boutique is open Monday through 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., Saturday 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and closed om Sundays.
Donate! Bring us your gently used or unused furniture and home accessories, men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, contemporary or vintage, in excellent condition. We accept donations during all operating hours.
Contribute: Make a direct contribution at leapforladies.org
Spread the word: Follow and share Dragonfly Thrift Boutique on Instagram (@dragonflythrift) and Facebook. Follow LEAP for Ladies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t forgot to tell everyone you know.