On the surface, Funky Flamingo 2nds may look like just another resale shop.
But it has an artsy façade, which of course is absolutely essential for any thrift store. The front of the aqua blue building displays a painted mural of two palm trees rising out of flames on each side of the French doors, and a bright pink store sign sits above the entrance—it would be difficult to miss this storefront on 6th Avenue.
Yet, Funky Flamingo 2nds stands out in more significant ways.
All of the proceeds at Funky Flamingo 2nds go to benefit H.O.M.E.S., Inc., an organization that focuses on creating self-sufficiency and economic development for disadvantaged individuals and neighborhoods. H.O.M.E.S. assists with affordable homeownership, and also provides housing, job assistance and internships, particularly for youth who are transitioning out of foster care. Youth also work at Funky Flamingo 2nds as part of the jobs program. Without this assistance, many TIL Youth—Transitioning Independent Living Youth—would be more vulnerable to homelessness, drug abuse or crime.
It’s also important to note the number of LGBT youth within the foster care system. According to a report by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), studies estimate that between five and 10 percent of the 260,000 youth in foster care are LGBT. “Because of homophobia and transphobia in their homes, schools, and social settings,” states the NCLR report. “LGBTQ youth enter the foster care system at a disproportionate rate.”
Consider the recent case of a gay Miami teen within the foster care system that experienced harassment by administrators and other foster children after he was forced to disclose his sexual orientation. The Miami Herald and Florida Agenda shared the teen’s ordeal as well as the reprehensible inaction of the Department of Children and Families.
If this is the experience of LGBT teens within foster care, then it is even more important to consider how these individuals will transition into their lives as adults. Organizations such as H.O.M.E.S. can offer a way to ease the transition.
Although the size of the store limits the inventory to household items and furniture, there is still a market for these goods. And as Time Magazine reported in 2011, thrift store businesses are thriving throughout the country, mainly due to the stagnant economy but also because consumers are concerned with the environment. Thrift stores such as Funky Flamingo 2nds provide an immediate way to act on these convictions.
The store is also part of a concerted effort to revitalize an area in transition. One recurring event that creates more of a sense of community is 2nd Fridays where customers are encouraged to socialize as they shop.
Another way to create community is to celebrate the one-year anniversary with Christmas in the Tropics. Snacks and refreshments will be served, and all items will be marked as 10% off. The store will also be taking donations of gift cards for youth who reside in the H.O.M.E.S. apartments.
For additional information about the store, go to www.funkyflamingo2nds.com
If you go to Christmas in the Tropics
Sunday, November 18, 12:00 p.m.- 4:00p.m.
Funky Flamingo 2nds Resale Shop
1234 N.E. 6th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304