College to Cradle Gives Back

Melinda Gill, Owner/CEO Cradle to College, LLC

When I first discovered upscale children’s consignment events I found many were donating unsold merchandise to charitable organizations, and as many were charging an admission to shop. I heard of others that were partnering with teen parent programs to offer a “free shop” opportunity. I knew that when I began Cradle to College we would create ways to give back and connect community.

In the spring of 2010 we launched Cradle to College in Clermont, Florida and immediately forged partnerships that would bless far more than the families then choose to consign and shop our events. For 5 years we donated unsold merchandise to agencies like New Beginnings, ADAPT Teen Parenting, FAITH Neighborhood Center, and Varustaa. When we launched our Orlando sale we began partnering with One Heart for Women with Children as well as with Buses ‘n Backpacks. Not only do these agencies benefit from the unsold merchandise consignors choose to donate, but the consignor themselves gets the tax deduction! We have always asked our shoppers to get in on the giving too by bringing an “admission gift” of school supplies or hygiene products to donate to our chosen charities. To date we have donated over 100 totes of supplies and filled a 20’ cargo trailer a total of 20 times!

In March of this year CTC will begin our 23rd season overall. Cradle to College concept is a simple one where families consign, shop and save for the future. Our events are held a week in March and a week in September in Clermont and Orlando; these events showcase gently loved children’s items such as clothing ranging from newborn/preemie to child size 14, toys, books, shoes, cd’s and DVD’s, baby gear (strollers, highchairs, etc), furniture, bedding, maternity wear, homeschool materials and more. The idea is if a child has worn it, played with it, read it, listened to it, watched it, and it is in good condition it can be resold. CTC differs from year-round children’s resale stores in that we only operate a total of 4 weeks each year and in doing so not only do we pay CONSIGNORS 65-75% on their sold items, but we have varied inventory options that allow us to take much more merchandise at one time, and we can also transfer inventory from one location to another with ease. For SHOPPERS we offer a one-stop professionally designed merchandising environment where families can see, touch, smell and fall in love with tens of thousands of high-quality items at amazing prices in a secure and safe space. Consisting of volunteers from our charitable giving partners as well as local business partners, high school kids needing volunteer hours, moms, dads, and even grandparents, the CTC CREW is all-around the store to assist shoppers.

We value our CTC family and we would love for you to become a part of it and join our efforts to give back and connect community. It’s what we do. For more information please visit

"When Are We Going to Blast Off?" - Air Travel with Toddlers

Traveling with kids makes the journey both a joy and a lesson in patience for mom and dad. I remember, not too long ago, when my kids were in the 5-and-under set, watching their little faces glow with excitement as they waited for the plane to blast off. At the time, Little Einsteins was at the height of popularity, and they would be tap, tap, tapping their little legs in a drum roll build-up until the plane took to the sky with a “Blast Off” finale. And turbulence, well turbulence is better than a ride at DisneyWorld, according to my then 3 year old who would shout “yippee” as we bounced up and down, as the rest of the passengers grew pale. Of course, after the excitement of blasting off settles down, parents need the most patience to help their little travelers make the best of the journey.

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Lynda Payne Photography