Our Awesome Project is to develop a clothing closet in the AC Reynolds School district for high school and nearby middle school use. Family to Family has been asked by the administrations and counseling staffs of AC Reynolds High School and AC Reynolds Middle School to help solve their challenge of having clothing on hand for students in emergency situations. Emergencies encompass personal hygiene reasons, noncompliant dress code clothing, clothing for special situations or for families who cannot afford alternatives for appropriate clothing. Other needs run the gamut from specialized clothing for arts, athletic, and specific academic programs, clothing for interviews and for the Graduation Project (Senior Exit Portfolio program) among other requests. Clothing teens is not easy and especially for families struggling economically. Students who are already marginalized often feel set apart as they only know “second hand” clothing. It is one thing to choose to go to “Goodwill” but to always have your clothing be less than what is “in” is often demoralizing. Our clothing closet seeks to provide dignity to all our students. F2F researched schools across the nation regarding this challenge, and came across the “boutique” or school clothing store concept. Big Picture High School in Burien, WA is an example we are emulating. Evident in our research is the importance of “normalizing” the use of a Clothing Closet on campus. By opening the store to all students, the Rocket Street Boutique can become the cool place to shop for all. Our clothing closet will be housed at the high school. Our business plan includes partnering with special needs students as part of their curriculum to enable them to experience real life skills for their future employment as well as provide this needed service to our community. Included in the plan will be the behind-the-scenes support for special services students’ to experience the autonomy and accountability of running a clothing boutique.
Funded by Asheville, NC (September 2017)