Resources for high school students in need, the Community Closet

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Aydan Garland-Miner, Editor in Chief

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Burlington-Edison High School has a variety of resources for students, including students in need. One of the most important, and possibly least utilized is the “Community Closet”.

 

The Community Closet exists for B-EHS students in need of certain items which they cannot afford and may lack access to. The closet was started by the Skagit Leadership Team and other donors in the fall of 2015.

 

The Closet is located in a small room off the side of the Idea Lab (room #1138) on the first floor of the Three-story Building. In it, there is gently used clothing, toiletries, school supplies, resources for mental health, and a computer for student use.

 

Ms. Padilla, the current administrative assistant in the counseling office organizes the items, cleans the room, and does whatever else is necessary to keep it running smoothly. She hopes to expand the services it currently offers.

 

Eventually, I would like to be more organized, provide seasonal clothing for our students, and snacks.” said Ms. Padilla.

 

If a student is interested in visiting the room, they can ask Ms. Padilla in the Counseling Office to accompany them, since students are not allowed in by their lonesome.

 

In 2015, the Skagit Leadership Team developed the idea for the Community Closet by getting in contact with Stacy Murdock, former counseling office administrative assistant. “We started having meetings with Mr. Setterlund and Stacy Murdock on the Community Closet in the Fall of 2015, it was fully completed by May 2016 with over $5400 in monetary and in kind donations donated by Burlington businesses and citizens.” said Christi Kinney, who was a part of the leadership team to develop and put the Community Closet into action.

 

Every year, 25-35 participants are chosen for the program through applications to Leadership Skagit. The year that Kinney was involved, five “leadership teams” were created and asked to develop a community service project idea. Each member of the five teams was expected to find an idea for a community service project, present their idea to their team, and then the team would cast a vote as to whose idea they wanted to proceed with. The teams would then plan, organize, execute, and complete the project within the nine months allotted.

 

The goal of the Skagit Leadership Program is to “develop leaders from all sectors of our community.” The program lasts for nine months in which members are prepared to become future community leaders.

 

“The Leadership Skagit program  is sponsored by EDASC (Economic Development Association of Skagit County) and is an opportunity to build strong relationships with current and emerging leaders in Skagit County.” said Christi Kinney

 

Kinney had recently discussed the need of B-EHS teens with BESD administrator, KC Knudson. She then contacted Stacy Murdock to see if there was anything specific that would help students, that they didn’t already have access to.  Mrs. Murdock mentioned the office space in the Idea Room, and that there were a few boxes of school supplies, and clothing, but that it was being treated as a “dumping ground for unwanted supplies.” Beforehand, many students had made requests for items, but the staff could not help them. Kinney decided to build off of this idea and transform it, with her leadership team, into what is now, the Community Closet.

 

In order to preserve the program and ensure its longevity, the leadership team ¨secured a partnership with the Burlington Healthy Community Coalition to create a line item in their budget to hold the additional $1600 we had left over to help by things for the closet if they run out.” said Kinney

 

The Community Closet was the first project the leadership team took on, but soon after, they adopted two other projects. The Counseling Corner in which they raised 10,000 dollars to install office space for Mrs, Larabee in her portable at Burlington North, in order for her to speak with students and parents privately.

 

They also heard from Mrs. Ringler that the InvestEd fund, was very underfunded. The InvestEd fund is for students who need “immediate monetary help for a school related topic.” After reaching out to several “Burlington Service clubs such as  B-E Kiwanis, Burlington Soroptimist, Mid Day Rotary and the morning Rotary, they all donate annually to the fund, and the fund has now tripled.” said Kinney

 

Mr. Sutterland, B-EHS principal, requested that the team write up a list of resources for students who may need assistance with “shelter, food, counseling, mental/physical health, job source readiness, etc.” This can be found here: http://www.be.wednet.edu/Page/457

 

First semester of this year the HOSA club volunteered their time towards the Community Closet to help get the word out, and maintain it. The students posted flyers around the campus, and made a short promo video for the morning show regarding it.

 

Second semester, the HOSA club could not commit, so the counseling office added four more office apprentice’s to wash, dry, fold, and sort clothes. Ms. Padilla is hoping that next year another club will volunteer to help out.

 

The Community Closet will remain a permanent fixture at B-EHS as long as there are devoted staff members who want to help maintain it, which there absolutely are. To access the Community Closet simply visit Ms. Padilla in the counseling office. If one is interested in donating, they can drop the items off in the main office with Ms. Cardona and consider reviewing this slideshow beforehand to find out which items are needed most: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1MrdjCFJQR1BcOeSgnGcGnKo9Slulbjc2Qmyh7VwV_n0/edit#slide=id.g182fb702b4_0_18

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Resources for high school students in need, the Community Closet