Young boy volunteers at Women’s Exchange

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Louie Fozard, 13, has been volunteering at the Women’s Exchange in West Chester since he was 8 years old. (Miranda Fozard)

Louie Fozard, 13, has been volunteering at the Women’s Exchange in West Chester since he was 8 years old. (Miranda Fozard)

WEST CHESTER — He may be just 13 years old, but that doesn’t stop Louie Fozard from lending a helping hand and volunteering at the Women’s Exchange on South Church Street.

In fact, Fozard has been volunteering there since he was 8, making him, by far, the youngest to ever help out there.

“For a while, my mom had been working at the Exchange and one time, she just brought me along,” he said. “I helped out for a day because I had nowhere else to be. I just thought it was a really cool place to hang out.”

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

Fozard hasn’t stopped helping since that day and has become, in a way, the main attraction at the Exchange.

“I’m biased, of course, but I don’t know any adult that has met him and not liked him,” said Miranda Fozard, Louie’s mother and also president of the Women’s Exchange board. “He’s just a really interesting person.”

The Women’s Exchange of West Chester is a nonprofit shop run by over 30 volunteers.

Since it opened 72 years ago, the shop takes consignments and donations of household goods, which can range from vintage and antiques to modern articles.

All the money collected at the Exchange goes back to West Chester in various ways — from the library and food cupboard to the historical society and the homeless shelter.

“There’s always something really cool to find down in the basement or on the shelves,” Fozard said. “There are always really interesting people that you meet with really interesting stories.”

Fozard may enjoy meeting and helping customers, but they feel the same way right back, sometimes even asking specifically for the young man.

“They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re Louie’s mom — is he in?’” Miranda Fozard said. “‘No, it’s just me.’ He’s his own personality. He just enjoys being here.”

The Fozard family, originally from the Isle of Man, an independent island which is part of the British Isles, moved to the United States and West Chester in 2009.

Miranda Fozard began volunteering at the Exchange within the first few months of arriving before her son followed suit.

Being from the United Kingdom and then working in the shop, Fozard had a tough time making sales due to the difference in coins, going from shillings to nickels, dimes and more.

But working at the store has aided him more than anyone could have imagined.

“It really has helped out,” Fozard said. “Especially since when I moved here, I had to adapt to a whole new coin system. The volunteers have helped me count up the change and all the names of the coins. Before that, I didn’t really have that good of an idea of what each coin was and what it was worth.”

He has learned so well from the volunteers and from doing it himself that the bookkeeper has taken note that Fozard hasn’t made a single error on any sale.

“It has helped with his math,” Miranda Fozard said. “He’s learning proper skills. I’m very relieved there are no mistakes on his sales slips. He’s just spot on.”

He has done so well that come this summer, Fozard will be taking shifts at the Exchange separate from his mother for the first time.

“I’m interested to see what it will be like,” Fozard said.

Miranda Fozard knows this is even more of a chance for him to shine.

“I said to him, ‘How do you feel about that?’” Miranda Fozard said. “He was like, ‘Well, I do like working with you, mummy, but I’ll be fine.’ I think that’s really cool.”

And that’s on top of what he has already done, including taking the Exchange into the 21st Century by creating a website by himself — in a single weekend.

“Louie’s website really has propelled us forward,” Miranda Fozard said. “I’m really excited about that. There are a lot of younger people and that’s how they shop. That’s how they’re going to find stuff. People are looking.”

With all the work and hours spent helping, earning school credit along the way, Fozard has no intention of stopping anytime soon.

He even already has intentions of improving the website (www.wewc.org) in the near future and may have even more hidden plans to get the Exchange more known in the community.

“It’s really nice being able to help,” Fozard said. “It makes me feel pretty happy that I’m able to give back to the community.”

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