Fall 2016 . . .
In the fall of 2016, Family to Family was asked to help the staffs of AC Reynolds Middle and High Schools with their challenge of having clothing on hand for students in emergency situations. Emergencies encompass personal hygiene reasons, clothing that does not meet the dress code, and clothing needed for special situations or for families who truly cannot afford alternatives for appropriate clothing. Other needs surface that run the gamut from specialized clothing for arts, athletic, and specific academic programs, clothing for interviews, and clothing for the Graduation Project (Senior Exit Portfolio program) as well as other requests.
Clothing teens is not easy and even more so 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. Family to Family researched what might be happening in schools across the nation regarding this challenge, and came across the “boutique” or school clothing store concept. Big Picture High School in Burien, Washington is an example we are emulating: http://bit.ly/2spFiA0. Our clothing closet will be housed at the high school which is located across the street from the middle school. Family to Family will partner with high school Special Services students and their teachers to develop the business plan that will provide resources for the counseling staff and administration of both the high school and middle school to meet clothing needs for emergency situations and for use by the student body at large.
$1000 Grant . . .
The Awesome Foundation of Asheville awarded a $1,000 grant to AC Reynolds High School for The Rocket Rack Clothing Store opening on campus mid October! The Awesome Foundation Board is a group of local entrepreneurs/friends who pull their resources together to offer this grant one time a year to a project that will make “our town even more vibrant and awesome to live in.” Senior Addison Seay has been working with Family to Family (F2F), a volunteer program that supports our marginalized families by connecting families of faith in the Reynolds district to fund unmet student needs. Addison presented the business model of The Rocket Rack to the Awesome Foundation Board outlining the challenge of clothing middle and high school students when clothing emergencies arise during the school day. She explained how new clothing and specific donated clothing will be available for all students at both levels before and after school at very low prices as well as meet emergency clothing needs.
Students from our OCS (Occupational Course of Study) will be involved in the day to day operation of the store in connection with F2F volunteers. Through The Reynolds Rack, F2F along with the support of ACRHS, hopes to provide an atmosphere of dignity, empowerment, and belonging for all students within the school and community; a model that could spur other middle and high schools across our county to develop on their campuses as well.