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Clothing Donations Sought to Help Homeless Students ‘Dress for Success’

Title 1 Coordinator Ambreen Ali takes stock of donated clothing
Title 1 Coordinator Ambreen Ali takes stock of donated clothing.

HOUSTON - Feb. 8, 2017 - The Spring ISD Homeless Resource Center has launched a “Dress for Success” initiative to collect gently used men’s and women’s business attire – especially suits and jackets – that will help high-school-age students look their best for job interviews, summer internships, college recruitment visits and other related occasions.

In order to expand the growing list of services offered through the center, Spring ISD Title 1 Coordinator Ambreen Ali has teamed with campus counselors, Harris County Community Youth Services (CYS) caseworkers, and outside organizations to generate support for the new program, which officially began accepting clothing donations in January.

“The district provided us a facility for the Homeless Resource Center,” Ali said in describing the development of the new initiative, “and I think it just goes back to us asking ourselves, over and over again, how we can make the best use of it. The distribution of backpacks and uniforms has been going well. Our library of donated books is pretty much embedded into that. We did food baskets during the holiday season, but we’re in a different season now, we’re in second semester. Some of our kids are going to be graduating soon; many are looking for jobs.”

Spring ISD Virtual Learning Program Counselor Marsha Wilson has already begun teaming up with the center to help meet some of her students’ needs. In discussing the program’s initial impact, she emphasized the difference the right clothes can make when students are job hunting.

“It’s not just what’s on the resumé, you also have to look the part. And so, the fact that we’re able to give students a few items to not only interview in but perhaps go on to work in – it helps them to have more confidence, to stand up straight and say, ‘I can get it.’ It gives them a sense of hope.”

Donated clothing will be stored at the center and given to students as needed, on an individual and case-by-case basis. Because Title 1 funds are not involved in the administration of the program, district staff can exercise greater latitude in distributing clothing to students who are in need, regardless of the family’s official status.

The request for clothing for the Dress for Success initiative will be ongoing, and those interested in donating are asked to ensure that clothes are in good condition, have been dry cleaned, and are donated on clothes hangers. A few additional garment racks are also being sought to help store items.

To help ensure the needed range of clothing styles and sizes are collected, anyone interested in contributing is asked to first contact Ali at 281-891-6022, or via email at anawaz@springisd.org, before making any donations.