Gray came to Ramble on Pearl having some paid work experience and excellent skills. Immediately Gray’s job coach could tell that he was one of the most thoughtful, diligent, conscious apprentices that she had encountered.  However, Gray felt his confidence was his biggest obstacle to obtaining meaningful community employment. Gray was very nervous around his job coaches, coworkers and especially customers. Recognizing early on that confidence-building would be critical for Gray’s ability shine in community employment, we immediately went to work building that self-assuredness in him. Through the supportive Ramble environment, Gray learned to make autonomous decisions, trust his judgment, and perhaps most importantly, allowed his incredible personality and attributes to shine through, to customers and coworkers alike!

Gray demonstrated his growth again when it was time to look for jobs in the community. Although he was still nervous about this process, he approached it with an amazing attitude and confidence like his team had never seen. Not only did he rock his interview and get offered a position on the spot… after starting he immediately began to integrate into his new work culture. His job coach watched him very intentionally work to get to know his co-workers at Boulder Housing Partners. The clearest example of this was when Gray, not even a month after starting the new position, participated in a group costume event for Halloween! Gray and all his coworkers dressed up as a flight crew and attendants with Gray, a pilot, absolutely embodying the theme.

Gray’s journey has been a shining example of the personal and professional growth that Ramble on Pearl staff get to witness every day.

Jared started at Ramble not having any sense of what type of profession he would like to pursue. He had never had a job, and was unsure if he would enjoy working with clothing. However, Jared’s job coach soon recognized that he did wonderful work with the clothes in the store, as well as with coworkers and customers. Jared’s has an infectious sense of humor, which quickly made his coworkers and job coach giggle right alongside him. One day, while working on a glittery window display, Jared coughed and then said “I think I swallowed some glitter. I must be sparkling on the inside!”

When it was time for Jared to find employment in the community, he was very open-minded and explored many possibilities. But he realized that he really enjoyed working with fun clothes. Therefore, Jared and his job coach explored the possibility of a position at Shinesty, Inc, which produces the most fun and outlandish clothing available on the market. Jared interviewed for a fulfillment and distribution team position and was offered the job! Jared packs clothing orders and includes a handwritten, personalized note in each one of them. After a short time on the job, he is almost as quick in his tasks as his seasoned coworkers, and has grown quite fond of working with them. Now he prefers asking his coworkers questions rather than his job coach… and that kind of independent working is precisely the objective of the Apprenticeship Program at Ramble on Pearl!

June 2017 Introduction:

Matthew is currently a Master Apprentice at Ramble on Pearl and never fails to brighten up the day with his sense of humor and great outlook. Matt has demonstrated that he has an exceptional inclination for retail and customer service! Customers are consistently impressed with the exceptional level of service they have received from Matt, and he regularly gets comments that he has done a great job or that he was the best part of their shopping experience at Ramble! Matt has an amazing greeting to incoming customers that explains that Ramble on Pearl is a nonprofit store that teaches job skills to adults with developmental disabilities. Customers always respond so positively to Matt’s greeting, and it makes them more inclined to purchase at the store.  Matt is also an exceptional artist, and has done artwork for the chalkboard sign that sits outside the store to attract customers inside.

Matt getting some steaming done at Ramble

Matt getting some steaming done at Ramble

Matt has demonstrated his proficiency in all the tasks that Ramble on Pearl’s Apprenticeship Program wants individuals in the program to achieve. Therefore, he has graduated into the Job Development program, which means that Matt and his job coach are currently looking for independent community employment. Matt’s enjoyment and exceptional skill at customer service make him an ideal candidate for a retail position.  He is specifically interested in Target, Best Buy, or Toys R Us. Matt will undoubtedly proved to be an absolute asset to whatever team he ends up being a part of in community employment!

November 2018 Update:

Matt has now been a member of the stocking team at Target for over a year, and during that time his position and responsibilities greatly expanded! When the store experienced a fire this past summer and needed to completely restock the entire store due to water and smoke damage, Matt stepped up alongside his team and for a short period of time, worked mornings nearly every day of the week. As a result of this hard work, the store was quickly restocked and Matt was thanked for his dedicated team contribution.

Several times over the months, Matt has been recognized by his supervisor in front of his entire team as being vital to the department. We heard Matt was beaming ear to ear as his contribution has been met with applause and cheers. Matt is an incredible example of what an asset Ramble graduates are to community employers!

Originally posted Oct 2, 2018 by About Boulder

When you walk into Ramble on Pearl, located on 16th and Pearl Street in downtown Boulder, Colorado, you see a wide range of premier active lifestyle clothing. You see high-end interior design. You see a retail business. But Ramble on Pearl is not in the retail business.

Ramble on Pearl is in the changing lives business. Ramble on Pearl is operated by the non-profit organization Boulder Treasures, founded by Andy and Connie Minden. Their story is one that shatters perspective, it awakens what truly matters in life, and it realizes possibility and opportunity.

Ramble on Pearl is the storefront of a mission conceived out of frustration. Andy and Connie moved to Boulder hoping it offered the life they envisioned for their daughter, Kendra, who has developmental disabilities. While in many respects Boulder seemed an ideal community for their daughter, frustration swelled from Boulder Treasuresthe fact that Kendra and her peers were struggling to find jobs, though perfectly capable of independent employment.

On a women’s retreat in 2012, Connie had her revelation,

“One of the speakers was talking about how you come to a time in life when you should look outside of your own family, outside of your church, and look for a need in the community where you can make a difference. I was just really struck by that. I told Andy we have to be the ones to make that difference, to make that change.”

Boulder TreasuresTwo months after that retreat, the beginning concept of Boulder Treasures was launched and they were on the path to incorporation and setting up their store and apprenticeship program. At Ramble on Pearl, job coaches train hard and soft job skills as a pathway to independent employment in and around the Boulder Community. The Minden’s held Boulder Treasure’s four-year anniversary since formally launching their apprenticeship program only a couple weeks ago, where present students, graduates, brand partners, and board members converged inside Ramble for an evening of celebration.

Students and graduates seemed to take turns all night hugging Andy and Connie, each with a squeeze cemented by gratitude. Andy and Connie eventually broke from hugs long enough to get up in front of the crowd for an outpouring of their own gratitude. Connie’s hands didn’t leave her heart in an emphatic message that Ramble on Pearl could not go on without the Boulder community.Boulder Treasures

Ramble on Pearl is able to place graduates in jobs that fit their skill set and enjoy long-term success thanks to willing and open-minded employers.  And they are able to offer brand new, high-end apparel at prices customers can’t find elsewhere thanks to donations from a long list of brand partners.

For more on Boulder Treasures, Ramble, plans moving forward, and how you can support their mission, please enjoy this interview with Andy and Connie:

Connie, you mentioned this kind of revelation on the retreat. How soon after that retreat did you start Boulder Treasures?

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Zachary S apprentice

Within several weeks of his apprenticeship at Ramble on Pearl, Zachary demonstrated his incredible work ethic and desire for autonomy at work. Every day, Zachary would come in and demonstrate through his actions his desire and appreciation for employment. Zachary’s job coach was always able to trust that he was being thorough in all of his tasks and never cutting corners. Zachary quickly became a Master Apprentice and graduated from the program, then he and his job coach began looking for community employment. Zachary’s dream job was working at Target and that is the first place they applied. Zachary got an interview at Super Target of Superior and wore the Target uniform of a red polo and khakis to his interview for a cart attendant position.  He was offered the job the spot!

Zachary ready to go in his Target uniform!

Zachary has excelled in his position at Target. He comes in every day with a great attitude, prepared for his shift. Zachary’s supervisors have noted that Zachary never complains when other employees would about some of the physical demands of being a cart attendant. They also report that he has become efficient at his tasks and is a great example of the work ethic that Target values in its employees. Zachary has also developed great bonds with his his fellow employees. Zachary’s coworkers love seeing him in action and even report that he brightens their days! Zachary has been able to pick up additional shifts and responsibilities due to this work ethic and consistency. Target has ended up being a perfect fit for Zachary and his contribution is incredibly valued there. We’re proud of and excited for you, Zachary!