Even at Lake Orion High School there are kids in financially struggling situations and there just isn’t enough money to buy clothing.
Most people go to their closet, gaze over the contents and decide on which outfit to wear. But not all kids have that luxury, and that’s where the Clothing Closet comes in.
A former teacher at LOHS was working with students with at-risk tendencies. What she found was that many of the kids did not have the clothing that made them fit in, to help them feel better about themselves, and their situation.
So, she started collecting clothes for these reasons, and then was offered a room at the high school to store it in and called the program the Clothing Closet.
Julie Barnes teaches in the future educators’ program at the high school and now runs the program.
“We want teen-appropriate clothes because the kids want to fit in. They don’t want clothes that makes them stand out,” said Barnes.
All donations have to be sorted, washed and stored. The Clothing Closet is a small room outside the main office of the school. Because of the limited storage space, they can’t accept clothing that is not suitable for teens.
“The kids in need are very conscience on what they are willing to wear because they want to fit in, so they don’t want the mom jeans. They don’t want people to realize that they are wearing a hand-me-down,” Barnes said.
Barnes’s future educators program and the National Honor Society occasionally run clothing drives for the Clothing Closet, then help process the donations.
The clothing that can’t be used will be donated elsewhere. Sorting, cleaning and organizing the donations is time consuming and is strictly done by volunteers, such as students and faculty members.
The kids who use the Clothing Closet generally emanate from the school counselors, who identify them as needing some assistance.
They are permitted to go through the clothing in the closet and pick out what they need. There are also some backpacks and school supplies in the room.
Donations to the Clothing Closet can be dropped off at the high school office or by emailing Barnes at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org.