The members of the Happy Valley Key Club in Johnson City, Tennessee, identified a need close to home: Some of their fellow students lacked necessities that many of us take for granted — and it was not only impacting their well-being, but also their academic experience.
“Having proper clothing, shoes and toiletries are all involved with health,” says President Zach Stephens, who chaired what would become known as the “warrior closet” project. “Students who don’t have proper clothing and shoes, in the wintertime especially, will be more prone to illnesses and other health issues. Students who aren’t able to brush their teeth or wash with soap will also be more prone to illnesses and other lifelong health issues such as cavities.”
After confirming that school administrators also recognized the need and would support the project, club members applied for a Youth Opportunities Fund grant to help with acquiring closet hardware, clothing and toiletries. Members then supplemented those supplies with their own donations of gently used everyday clothing and formal attire for the school’s upcoming prom.
Now club leaders work with their peers to set hours for the fully stocked closet and provide access for students in need to shop discreetly for clothing and toiletries.
“Our closet has been open for about a month and has already been making a positive impact in our school,” says Megan Hall, the club’s faculty advisor. “We’re hoping to have continued support from our Kiwanis sponsors and community members so the closet can continue to serve the students in our community.”
Do you have a project perfect for your school or community but need help to set your plans in motion? Apply for your club’s own Youth Opportunities Fund grant. Applications are now accepted twice a year instead of only once, with deadlines of October 15 and March 1. Get all the details here.