Brick it Again hosts “Build your own race car” event

On August the 26, Brick It Again hosted a ” Build your own race car” event, challenging  contestants assemble and race their own Lego constructions.  Located on  Lake  Ridge Plaza in Valley Cottage, the Lego  resale store is run  by local not for profit Jawonio, which uses the location  to expand their vocational services for adults in need and provide jobs and “experience based programs”  aimed at assisting  individuals with disabilities, mental health challenges, and chronic conditions. The store opened last March and has been a boon for both the community and Jawonio, which is celebrated it’s 75th year of operation in 2022.

Constrained by limited government resources, and always in search of new funding, Jawonio launched Brick it Again to both raise awareness and funds for their work, and allow the people they help to develop a level of self reliance.  The shop is the latest brainchild of CEO Randi- Rios Castro, who told the RCT that ” the mission of this store is to provide vocational and employment opportunities to individual with special needs to achieve their highest level of independence. ”

The Legos are a tool to help workers with developmental challenges learn job skills such as organizing inventory, working a cash register, and interacting with customers.  Castro added, “these events we are doing in our store will hopefully  lead to some sort of profitability so we can   keep  it open and the funds  raised are directed toward store activities and employing people with wide range disabilities  in  an integrated environment. Its important  focusing on diversity ,equity and inclusion in order to understand people with disabilities and bring more awareness . Boosting our visits boosts our revenue making it more sustainable.”

Andrew Perr ,Brick it Again store manager said that he believed “Brick it again will  bring our community together Helping people with disabilities be able to work just  like everyone else .Its important being ingrained and a part of this community .Kids don’t have to pay to come in, just come over , play and hangout”
He also added “By working off a grant we can hopefully transition into a self sustainable model ,pay the rent and contribute back to our parent company Jawonio  and  to be able to  support and subsidize other adventures in the future. Legos have had a resurgence since the pandemic and with  the second hand market getting retire lots. We  have a few hard core collectors that are helping us out giving us more obscure older sets”  Lego sales are in fact building on pandemic era growth boosting popularity with adults and children alike with revenue jumping by 17% in 2022.

Castro credited other charitable organizations for their help in establishing Brick it Again and shared high hopes for the store. “A  project of this magnitude could not have happened without the funding and award of $300,000 from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. As previous grantees,we are honored and grateful for their ongoing belief in our mission and investment in our work”

Future plans for Brick It Again include hosting children’s birthday parties and events for both the girls and boys scouts

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