Friday, September 24, 2010

Give a Shirt

Homeless students.
900 of them last year in Salem-Keizer, OR, alone.
Not even 18 years old and life has gotten off to a rough start.
One of the biggest barriers between their present and a better future is their education.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act attempts to remove all barriers to homeless students succeeding in school. It does a great job of this–it provides free transportation, free food, lets them choose any school in the district, and protects them from being discriminated against. One thing it doesn’t do is provide clothes.
What difference do clothes make, don’t they have steeper challenges than that?
Imagine not changing your clothes for the next sixty days.

Many of these students have one outfit. One smelly, dirty, doesn’t quite fit, wouldn’t-wear-it-if-I-had-something-else outfit.
Many of these students, not wanting to smell, stand out, and wear their poverty on their sleeve, only come to school a few days a week. People are less likely to notice if they’re at school less.

Not having more than one outfit is a valid reason to not want to go to school every day.
Not having more than one outfit is a stupid reason to not finish school someday.

The problem is…there is nothing they can do about it.

The solution is…there is something you can do about it. What’s that?

GIVE A SHIRT. Literally.

For every shirt sold $10 will be given to help these local homeless students get the clothes they need.

Get a shirt you want–give a shirt they need.
When you stand out–they blend in.


If I had heard about this project a while ago, I would have thought, "there are much better ways to help homeless kids than buying them new clothes."  But after learning more about Give a Shirt and reading and reviewing The Glass Castle, I realize now that new clothes is an important way to give kids the opportunity of a better life.

Give a Shirt was started by a group of local high school students.  Each shirt costs $15 - totally reasonable for a cool tee - and $10 goes directly back to the organization.

I bought a teal shirt today and I can't wait to wear it.

Give a Shirt.

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