Today we’d like to introduce you to Deborah Shields.
Hi Deborah, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
A group of eight local Christian schools started Ditto Family Resale in 2012 as an alternative revenue source to fund scholarships for students who could otherwise not afford to attend. School volunteers partner with Ditto’s staff to run the store, with earnings shared equally among our eight schools for scholarship purposes. Ten years in, we’ve distributed almost $2 million to our schools in tuition assistance. Ditto also shares a portion of annual earnings to support educational programs and initiatives at other St. Louis area academic institutions through our Ditto Education Grant (DEG) Program – an aim inspired by our desire to share God’s love with our community (Hebrews 13:15),” and championed by our member school leaders since the store’s inception.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We want to be good stewards of everything donated to us. The challenge comes in the bountiful amount we receive daily and ensuring we can put every item to good use. Whether we sell the items to our loyal store customers or growing eBay base, donate what we cannot use to another charity, or recycle the rest – we pledge to find the right home for every donation that comes through our doors. This process takes time and know-how, but we’re thankful for the opportunity to do so.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am currently the General Manager of Ditto Family Resale. I started as the Assistant Manager ten years ago and have been at the helm for the last seven years. My degree is in fashion merchandising and design, and I spent much of my early career working in boutique-style stores, including The Station Store in Webster Groves, where I was given the privilege of going on buying trips for the store. After I got married, I maintained the books for a men’s boutique clothing store, and then after I had children, I started my own gift basket company which enabled me to stay at home and help raise our children.
What are you most proud of? Working in a store that supports Christian education by providing tuition assistance to families who could otherwise not afford it.
What sets you apart? Managing both employees and volunteers and keeping a productive, joyful work environment.
What do you specialize in? Offering quality, affordable products while maintaining and increasing support for eight Christian schools every year since I became general manager.
Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
I am one of five children and my dad is the youngest of ten. Our family and extended family gatherings have always been full and festive, and I knew I always wanted a large family myself. Six children and six grandchildren later (and counting) I continue experiencing those full and festive gatherings.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: dittostl.com
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