I assumed that the summer after my freshman year of college was going to be relaxing, fun, and rewarding. Thankfully, it was. However, to my surprise, I found these qualities in the place I was least expecting. My home away from home for the summer was the Ridgefield Thrift Shop.

This is where I spent several hours every day getting lost in the bustling nature of the store. During the shop hours of 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., there is always a constant stream of not only customers in the front of the store, but donations coming in the back drop-off doors, as well. The store is inspirational to everyone who walks through the doors, but the real gem is hidden in the back.

The volunteers at RTS are some of the most genuine and friendly people I have ever met. I was welcomed with open arms, and every single person made sure that I felt like I was a part of the team. I learned not only how to work a cash register, but how to communicate and turn a bunch of individuals into a cohesive and successful group. The sense of community that is present at the store is incredible, and just the thing I needed to make my summer complete.

Editor’s note: The column writer was a summer college intern for the Ridgefield Thrift Shop. Edwardson is a sophomore at the University of Richmond, majoring in journalism. She is a 2018 graduate of Sacred Heart Greenwich.