Since the summer of 2001 students between the ages of 13 and 18 have purchased new clothing and school supplies through the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Teen Closet. Students from San Manuel, Canada del Oro and Ironwood Ridge High Schools eagerly shop in Target and Ross with the assistance of a volunteer and a $175 budget.
Eligible students enter the program their freshman year, and if they continue to meet program requirements can participate all four years of high school. Students shop twice a year, in July for the fall season and January for the spring. During the 2016-2017 school year a total of 75 students shopped with Teen Closet: 45 in July 2016 and 30 in January 2017. In July 2017, 53 students purchased fall clothing and school supplies.
Over the course of one or two shopping trips the students not only acquire the clothing and supplies they need for school but they also become savvy shoppers. Each excursion provides opportunities to compare prices and assess the value of various items.
Volunteers help the students by tracking their spending prior to check out, bringing alternate sizes of clothing to the dressing room, encouraging students to consider the fit and durability of clothing choices and offering sage advice about how to stretch their budget. The students appreciate the support, and the volunteers delight in helping young people select clothing.
Willie Reicht who has been a Teen Closet volunteer for over a decade noted, “I have helped several students for three or four years in a row. It’s always a great experience to meet the students and their parents, and I’m happy to volunteer my time to help the kids.” According to Mimi Sander, Teen Closet coordinator, “Although we have 42 volunteers signed up to help, we could use more volunteers for the July shopping trips. Busy summer travel schedules make it more challenging to have enough volunteers.” If you would like to volunteer for Teen Closet, please contact Mimi at 520-825-4557.