Blog post created by Samara Purvis 4-H Extension Agent
Do you believe the clothes we wear impacts our behavior and has the ability to mold our personality and mood? Reminisce on that feeling you get when you purchase a new outfit or a new pair of shoes. Do you go home and have your own personal fashion show? You think about where you are going to wear that outfit? How confident it may make you feel? Do you think youth have that same experience? Do you remember the first day of school and how much planning went into that outfit?
Our clothes have an impact on how we feel. This holds true for our youth in school. During the Christmas break one 4-H mother came in and told the story of an experience she had with a child she was purchasing gifts for and his desire was to have a pair of check shoes. I was puzzled as she told this story I am thinking what in the world is check shoes. Then she revealed he just wanted a pair of Nikes so that he could perhaps feel normal. This was not a story about a kid wanting a pair of $300 Jordan’s. This was a story of a kids wanting to satisfy a need to just be a normal kid. Can you imagine just in that request what this child may have been lacking in simple needs, basic clothing needs. We live a world today where everything is fast, and everyone is fighting to keep up with the latest trends. There are some who just do not have that ability, so they do with what they have.
Though school enrichment programs 4-H has an opportunity to go into the schools to provide educational programming and expose youth to other 4-H opportunities. Going into the schools also allows us to see genuinely who the kids are in the community and what needs that may have. We as Agents cannot solve every issue, but we can create opportunities to make a positive change. My Program Assistant Miranda came to me with an idea to create a Clothes Closet at one of the local elementary schools because she saw a need. I thought this would be a great opportunity to create a community service project for our 4H youth to learn about charity by helping those in need, as well as service to the community by organizing a clothes drive.
The clothes closet is unique in that gently used clothes will be collected, washed folded placed in Ziplock bags and labeled. If a child comes to school and has a need a teacher or that child can visit the clothes closet. The Clothes Closet will give youth the confidence they need to succeed in school by offering them an outlet in a time of need.
4H Agent/ County Extension Director
UF/IFAS Extension Bradford County
2266 N. Temple Ave.
Starke, FL 32091