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Young volunteer pitches in at Community Thrift Shop

September 05, 2019
BRISTOL Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. Not many, however, come as young as six-year-old Cayden Olszak of Bridgewater, who is now in his second year of lending a hand at the Bristol Community Thrift Shop.

Cayden said that one Saturday morning more than a year ago, his mom was shopping there and he "just got bored" waiting for her. Looking for something to do, he began collecting empty hangers left on the racks, which he then handed over to the staff.

Since his mom likes dropping buy the store on Saturday mornings, collecting hangers quickly became a way for the then five-year-old to pass the time each week. Seeing how much it was appreciated also made him happy.

After a while, Cayden was being asked if he would like to help in other ways, too. He began putting toys and books on shelves when they were brought to the shop, and even sweeping or dust mopping the floors if the store wasn't too crowded. He does it all for free, but said once in a while, they let him have a toy or book he likes as a thank you.

This summer, he got to do a very special job that he is especially proud of.

"I helped Miss Annie with the window display for the Fourth of July," Cayden said with a big grin.

The young man now looks forward to Saturdays. Since he began volunteering, he was pleased to announce last week he has only missed a couple of weekends for camping trips or other family outings. Sadly, he will miss a few more this fall because he'll be playing soccer, but as soon as the season is over, he said he'll be right back to work.

Susan Colby, Executive Director of Bristol Community Services, said Cayden is a big help, and she thought it was "awesome" that a boy that young would want to help out in a thrift store.

"It's really inspiring that he did it all on his own, too," said Colby.

Assistant Director Diane Payne said she greatly appreciates all Cayden does at the shop and, like Colby, felt it was really special that he's going into his second year of volunteerism when he's just entering first grade.

For Cayden however, it's really no big deal. He's just doing something that came naturally to him and makes him feel good about himself.

"More people should help out," the six-year-old said. "If everybody helped, the world would be way better!"

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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