Belvoir Thrift Shop reimburses Soldiers for good college grades


Belvoir Thrift Shop reimburses Soldiers for good college grades


Soldiers who continue their learning through Fort Belvoir’s Barden Education Center can, once again, get rewarded for good grades, in a unique partnership with the Belvoir Thrift Shop.
In the Tuitex program, completely funded by money earned by the Thrift Shop, Soldier-students, E1 through E6, get $30 for each A grade; and $15 for each B they earn taking college classes at Barden. These are increases from $20 for As; and $10 for Bs, for Soldiers assigned to a Unit Identification Code associated with Fort Belvoir.

“We love the program being reinstated,” said TaMekii Clark-Warrington, Barden Education Center site manager. “Often, they are using Tuition Assistance and then use this small windfall to buy books, which can be really expensive, even for on-line versions.”  

“Things are really tough all over,” Clark-Warrington said. “Covid times have made hard times.” She said she’s glad when the Soldiers start coming to the Ed Center for their checks and are thrilled with the bonus money they’ve earned. “There have been times we’ve given out $2,000 a month.”  

“It’s an awesome program that encourages them to strive and gives them a pat on the back and some recognition,” she said. “They should all be really quite proud of choosing to learn and doing well in their endeavors.”

“The Thrift Shop does an awesome job at helping the community,” Clark-Warrington said. “Not only do they offer the shopping amenity and this program but are continually giving back to the community, with scholarships each year for local high school students and spouses. The program resumes in March with a streamlined application process and Soldiers have to show proper credentials to pick up their reimbursable.

“We are the sole funding for the Tuitex program,” said Jackie Baer, administrator of the Belvoir Community Committee at the Thrift Shop. “No money comes from anywhere else. But, we’re very proud of the help we can provide to Soldiers and their families.

“We rarely get to see the faces of the people we help, but we know getting money back is just so appreciated,” Baer said, adding books have become terribly expensive. “This must be so helpful to them and mean something, as they are being recognized for their accomplishments, while they are trying to better themselves. This shows them their hard work and accomplishments can be rewarded.

“The Belvoir Thrift Shop is very proud of this program, because it exemplifies our long-standing, and long-range goal of helping military and families,” Baer said. “We help them however we can, no matter what their situation may be.”

“It’s more than just defraying costs, but the Belvoir Thrift Shop, its volunteers, employees, donors and certainly the customers, just want to make community members’ lives better,” Baer said.  
“These Soldiers should definitely be celebrated, recognized and encouraged, as they’re trying to improve themselves through education,” Baer said. “Everyone needs a pat on the back, once in a while.”

By Margaret Steele
Fort Belvoir Garrison Public Affairs