Our first spotlight shines on Ava, a Diversity Thrift manager. Ava has been with Diversity Richmond for 14 years.
“My role is to be dedicated in the work I do, including managing and being a good leader for Diversity Richmond (DR),” shared Ava. “I exemplify this by accepting new tasks, learning and growing with the organization, being consistent, and doing whatever I can to make DR better. I also see my role as getting to know the customers, what they like or how their day was and ensuring that they leave happy.”
Many of our customers look for Ava as soon as they arrive at the store. “Over the years I have gotten to know the customers and they have become like family…we inspire and support one another in life’s challenges.”
Ava learned of D.R. through a program with OAR, a non-profit that helps individuals acquire second chances. “I was incarcerated for 6 months and had been an addict for 32 years. Participating in OAR gave me the hope to get back into working and I had to be self-willing to change. I remember seeing the signs and the rainbow building from across the highway and thinking maybe one day I can work there, so when OAR said there was a position available, I was excited to take it.”
Ava’s life plan is simple: “Love everybody, do not be judgmental, and no hatred.” Looking back over her years of service at D.R., Ava says, “I have gained a team with great leadership. I have gained teaching myself the importance of believing in myself and knowing that I can do it. The opportunity to bring new, creative ideas to DR be more successful—in turn lifting others through their work.”
“Knowing that today I can be honest, respectful, and loyal to myself—which allows me to offer this to other people as well. Humanity and their ability to be kind, compassionate, selfless, and uplift fairness. My strong belief system and knowing that God Almighty has seen and will see me through my trials and tribulations. Knowing that God would not have given me anything I cannot handle and God has equipped me for everything, including burying my only son—a Chief Officer in the Navy.”
“If we all win, I win because we are all here together. I always build others up and don’t tear them down because it takes less energy to be nice and kind than mean and hateful.”
~ John Bowles, VCU Intern