Resale boutique Full Circle, which employs adults with developmental disabilities, moves to Homewood

Full Circle Thrift Store Homewood team member, left to right: Esther Lipsker, Bama Hager, Henley Hager, Rabbi Levi Weinbaum, Executive Director Brooke Bowles. Henley fulfills Full Circle’s mission to employ adults with developmental disabilities. Photo courtesy

By Ally Morrison

A new Full Circle store has opened in Homewood, providing more opportunities for people living with developmental disabilities to find meaningful and fulfilling work.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony has been set for February 3 at noon at the new location, 2902 Linden Ave., in downtown Homewood.

The upscale women’s boutique, which is a nonprofit, had been housed by the Levite Jewish Community Center since it opened in 2020, and workers were happy to be in their new space.

“Since I moved to Homewood, it’s been fantastic. We felt really included and valued,” Chief Executive Brooke Bowles said at a Dec. 19 event. “We really wanted to choose a city where people would embrace our diversity, and Homewood was at the top of our list.

The non-profit organization provides jobs for adults living with developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and traumatic brain injury. Adults with intellectual disabilities are often underemployed or unemployed.

A team of neurotypical volunteers work daily alongside the adults served by Full Circle.

Founder Rabbi Levi Weinbaum envisioned and created the store after founding the Friendship Circle, a program for teens and adults with special needs, in 2012. The Friendship Circle is a buddy system that pairs volunteers not disabled to those with special needs.

As the teens involved in the Friendship Circle grew into adults, Levi noticed that they needed job opportunities, which led to the opening of Full Circle.

“We have a young woman, Julia, who is very involved in the Cercle de l’Amitié, and Julia loves fashion. We had our role model employee who helped us envision the idea of ​​a women’s resale boutique,” ​​Bowles said.

Associate Julia Fargason said she enjoys her job at the store.

“I like working at Full Circle because I get work experience and can work for paid employment.” Farson said. “I love the people I work with and I love meeting and getting to know new people. It helps my self-esteem to feel like I’m part of a company.

Alabama Hager, a Full Circle volunteer and autistic parent, said the store fulfills an important role in her son’s life.

“Like any parent of a young adult, I want Henley to be happy, healthy, have friends and enjoy meaningful work,” Hager said. “Full Circle allows him to be in the community and interact with colleagues and volunteers while being productive. I appreciate the mission and work of Full Circle in Birmingham.

The Resale Shop is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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