By Nancy McCluskey-Moore
Twice a year, in the fall and spring, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) provides school wardrobes and school supplies to children living in towns along the Copper Corridor, from Catalina north to Miami and San Carlos.
Kids’ Closet serves children from pre-school through eighth grade, while Teen Closet assists students in grades nine through twelve. While the programs operate differently, both are rooted in the SBCO mission of providing opportunities for kids to succeed by raising self-esteem with new clothing and shoes.
Teen Closet shopping days are held on multiple evenings in January and July at the Target and Ross Dress for Less stores in Oro Valley. Schools identify students entering 9th grade who would benefit from the program based on family need. To continue in Teen Closet, each student must attend school regularly, attain a passing GPA, and perform six hours of community service each semester to receive $250.00 to purchase clothing, shoes and school supplies. Students who graduate from high school in the spring are given one last shopping trip in July, when they purchase items for their dorm rooms or apartments in addition to clothing.
Over six days in July, 86 students from six high schools in the SBCO service area were met by an adult volunteer who served as the student’s personal shopper. Some students purchased expensive scientific calculators or computers with their money in addition to – or instead of – clothing. Teen Closet has given teenagers the opportunity to attend school with pride of person, knowing that they have earned this benefit through their hard work and mindfulness of the needs of others in their community. The next Teen Closet event will be held at the end of January 2023.
Please email email@example.com to have your name added in our volunteer list.
Kids’s Closet is located in “the big red building” in Mammoth. Students are brought on school buses or, on Saturdays, by their parents, to the facility. Inside, there is a waiting area where each child can select two books to take home. In the “zoo room” – named for the colorful animals painted on the walls – volunteers serve as personal shoppers, helping each child find clothing that fits. But the children make their own selections from the t-shirts, shorts or jeans, jackets, sweatshirts and shoes in stock. Students also receive underwear, socks, and personal toiletry items, like toothbrushes and toothpaste. Dressing rooms and bins of clothing organized by size help to create the experience of shopping in a store.
Between the fall season, which runs from September through November and the spring season, from February through April, Kids’ Closet provides approximately 3,500 wardrobes each year. Backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies are delivered directly to schools for distribution. If you would like to become a Kids’ Closet volunteer, please send an email to Michelle Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org.