For the past 18 years, the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Teen Closet program has enabled students between the ages of 13 and 18 to purchase new clothing and school supplies. Students from San Manuel, Canada del Oro and Ironwood Ridge High Schools eagerly shop at Target and Ross with the assistance of a volunteer and a $200 budget. This year, the program was expanded to students from Superior and Ray High Schools, who shopped at Walmart in Claypool (west of Globe) and Winkleman High School students, who shopped in Oro Valley.
Eligible students enter the program their freshman year, and if they meet program requirements (six hours of community service, C or better grade average, good school attendance, and a meeting with their counselor each semester), they can participate during all four years of high school. Mimi Sander, Teen Closet program coordinator, works tirelessly with school counselors to ensure students meet these program requirements. Students shop twice a year, in July, for the fall season and January, for the spring. During the 2018-19 school year, 49 students shopped in the summer and 33 in January. In July, 81 students purchased fall clothing and school supplies.
SBCO Teen Closet volunteers serve as the students’ “personal shoppers,” 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 advice about how to stretch their budget. The students appreciate the support, and the volunteers delight in helping young people select clothing. Many of the students not only acquire the clothing and supplies they need for school but also become smart shoppers, comparing prices and the assessing value of various items.
If you would like to volunteer for Teen Closet, contact Mimi at 520-825-4557. In addition to helping students shop, volunteers can help contact school counselors, as well as students, and other volunteers to set up shopping dates.