Choose Life Ministry offering a Second Chance

                Carlyle will welcome a new business on Sept. 1 on Main Street; nestled between Michael’s Coffee Shop and the RIBC, Second Chance Thrift Store will open.

                “We were overrun with donations in Estevan, so we needed to find another location,” Shelley Boyes, Director of Choose Life Ministry, explained.

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                The store, which is an expansion of one in Estevan, is part of the non-profit organization Choose Life Ministry founded by Boyes in 2012 and their overall focus is to provide assistance to young women in need, offering them a second chance at life, free from life controlling issues.

                “Three years ago I started a ministry designed to help young girls with life controlling issues like depression, abuse, abuse of drugs and alcohol, anything that’s altering their lives,” Boyes said.

                The ministry is focused on bringing hope and healing to young women between the ages of 18 and 29, who are looking to make a change in their life and escape these life-controlling issues.

                The ministry’s five foundational values include love, acceptance, trust, freedom, and excellence.

                As Boyes pursued her dream of creating a Christian based non-profit corporation to address concerns for young women in need of help, a friend of hers approached Boyes about the possibility of starting a second hand store, which is where the beginnings of Second Chance Thrift Store developed.

                “A friend came to me with the idea and I said, ‘That’s a great idea, you should do that,’” Boyes explained. “So, in April 2014 we opened the store in Estevan. It’s been very well received and we’ve had a lot of good responses from it, to the point of needing another location.”

                “Carlyle is a booming metropolis - people from here, Redvers, and other outlying towns were already coming to Estevan - and there are cottagers, the rural area, and small towns around here as well.”

                Second Chance Thrift Store is set up slightly different than most thrift stores. The items are put on display in a way that feels more like a small boutique than a thrift store, which will have a variety of items available for sale including clothing, footwear, books, movies and music, home décor, kitchen ware, toys and games, fashion accessories, furniture items, and more.

                “In Estevan and what we plan here is a boutique type of store,” Boyes said. “I’ve had people come in and look around then ask if what we had was really used.”

                “To start with in Carlyle I will be managing the store, but we’ll be looking to hire for positions as well. I’m hoping people will just come in and show an interest in what we’re doing and from there I can select a few good people.”

                The store, which will accept second hand donations as well on location, has become a great way to raise money for their mission of helping young women.

                “When I first started my long range plan was to have a house up and running for women in need within 10 years,” Boyes explained. “I was looking at raising enough to build a new facility for 20 women to stay for six months at a time and re-enter the world. The Board of Directors cleaned up the yard this spring and there’s actually a good house on the property and one of our Board of Directors is a construction worker. So, the large stone house on the property just needs some work, they’ve begun pulling out plaster and insulation in the walls, and his prediction is that next fall we will be able to open our doors.”

                “It’s all very exciting and it can be overwhelming some days, but it all seems to be coming together. And next year in the fall is so much sooner than the 10 years I had expected to open it.”

                Choose Life Ministry is modeled on the United States based Mercy Ministries, which is focused on providing a residential free program for young women. The program will last six months and involves nutrition education, fitness instruction, life-skills training, and more.

                “It is a faith based organization,” Boyes says, but she adds, “Over 90 percent of the women who have completed the program at Mercy Ministries have gone on to live productive lives which is basically unheard of, which is why we’re using that model.”

                Second Chance Thrift Store is expanding, which is exciting for Boyes and her fellow Board of Directors, and is one of the main ways they are funding their project. These funds will need continual fundraising efforts as the house is set-up and once it’s ready funds will be needed for each program ran out of the house as it is offered to young women free of charge.

                Another fundraiser conducted by Choose Life Ministry is the upcoming fourth annual banquet held at Living Home Community Church in Estevan on Friday, Sept. 18.

                “It’s an elegant affair,” Boyes explained. “We call it a red carpet, although the carpet is more pink, but it’s a red carpet and people are escorted to their tables, they sit down for a meal, are entertained by a professional comedian, an update is given on the Ministry, and it usually ends with an auction.”

                For more information visit www.chooselifeministry.ca or stop in at Second Chance Thrift Store in the new Carlyle location.

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