School days can be a tough time when it comes to fitting in and finding your place. Catie’s Closet, a non-profit organization based in Dracut, along with students at the Academy of Notre Dame (NDA) aim to change that by teaming up to make fashionable clothing accessible to all.
When students have access to appropriate and fashionable clothing they can focus on their education rather than fitting in. This point of view is closely aligned with that of the Academy, where students are required to wear uniforms, in part, to remove those pressures. Recognizing this alliance and embracing the call to serve the community, four members of the National Honor Society (NHS) recently committed themselves to becoming student ambassadors for Catie's Closet.
"We thought it was important to partner with an organization that is focused on education and upholds the values of the National Honor Society - scholarship, service, leadership and character. Catie's Closet is the perfect fit," says Stacy Marsden, NHS advisor. "We were moved by the statistic that more than one in five kids lack access to clothing, which affects their attendance and performance at school and we want to do what we can to change that."
Student Ambassadors Bridget Ryan of Groton, Megan Pefine of Billerica, Titiana Tambi of Lowell and Anoutsa Latsapanya of Lowell will all be working to host a clothing and toiletry drive at the Academy this semester and will volunteer at the distribution center to sort clothing. They will also work to help raise awareness of the organization's efforts to provide students from low-income families with basic necessities and fashion-forward clothing that kids are proud to wear.
The Ambassadors are all moved by a genuine desire to help kids and promote change.
"I believe that all people should have access to the bare necessities in life,” said Tambi. “Being an ambassador gives me an opportunity to give back and provide quality clothing for people of all ages, securing their warmth and protection through New England's changing climate. It also gives me great pleasure to know that my fellow ambassadors and I will have a direct hand in helping many in this unfortunate circumstance, while hopefully putting a smile on their faces."
The Student Ambassador Program is an opportunity for students to use their strengths and creativity to address the critical issue of child poverty by inviting their peers and local communities to action.
"We hope to inspire a movement of kids helping kids, which is incredibly powerful," says Bethany McNamara, an NDA graduate from the Class of 2012 and Program Administrator for Catie's Closet.
"The NDA community has truly gone above and beyond for us in recent years. Their high level of commitment and awareness for the needs in their surrounding communities are evident from many of the successful clothing drives they have hosted and the hours they have given us volunteering at our Distribution Center. We are happy to partner with NDA students again to advocate for the students we serve and emphasize the importance of clothing and toiletries in school attendance."
Catie's Closet has a presence in 67 schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and has helped 34,000 students from pre-school to grade 12 since 2010. The Academy’s mission and hallmarks call students to commit to community service and the student ambassador program with Catie’s Closet is just one of many students take part in. For more information about the school’s mission outreach, visit https://www.ndatyngsboro.org or attend the Open House on Sunday, October 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.