Back to School with SBCO Teen Closet and Kids’ Closet
Twice a year, in the fall and spring, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) provides school wardrobes and school supplies to children living in towns along the Copper Corridor, from Catalina north to Miami and San Carlos. Kids’ Closet serves children from preschool through 8th grade, while Teen Closet assists students in 9th through 12th grade. By offering new clothing and shoes, both programs help to raise kids’ self-esteem.
Teen Closet shopping days are held on multiple evenings in January and July at the Target and Ross Dress for Less stores in Oro Valley. Schools identify students entering 9th grade who would benefit from the program based on family need. To continue in Teen Closet, each student must attend school regularly, attain a passing GPA, and perform six hours of community service each semester to receive $250 to purchase clothing, shoes, and school supplies. Students who graduate from high school in the spring are given one last shopping trip in July when they purchase items for their dorm rooms or apartments, in addition to clothing.
In July, 101 students from six high schools in the SBCO service area were met by an adult volunteer who served as the student’s personal shopper. That number included eight graduating seniors, with the remaining 93 divided almost evenly between returning 10th through 12th graders and new 9th graders. Teen Closet has given teenagers the opportunity to attend school with pride of person, knowing that they have earned this benefit through their hard work and mindfulness of the needs of others in their community.
The next Teen Closet event will be held Jan. 22-27, 2024. If you would like to participate, please email [email protected] so your name can be added to the volunteer list.
Kids’ Closet is located in the “big red building” in Mammoth. Students are brought on school buses or, on Saturdays, by their parents to the facility. Inside, there is a waiting area where each child can select two grade-appropriate books to take home. In the “zoo room,” named for the colorful animals painted on the walls by the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild, volunteers serve as personal shoppers, helping each child find clothing that fits. But the children make their own selections from the T-shirts, shorts or jeans, jackets, sweatshirts, and shoes in stock. Students also receive underwear, socks, and personal toiletry items like toothbrushes and toothpaste. Dressing rooms and bins of clothing organized by size helps to create the experience of shopping in a store.
Between the fall season, which this year runs from Sept. 11 through Dec. 7, and the spring season, from late January or early February through April, Kids’ Closet provides approximately 3,000 wardrobes each year. Backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies are delivered directly to schools for distribution. If you would like to become a Kids’ Closet volunteer, please send an email to Margaret Thompson at [email protected].
Registration Now Open for 25th Annual SBCO Walk for Kids!
It’s time to register for the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Walk for Kids. The Walk will begin with a warm-up session at 8:40 a.m., followed by the walk at 9 a.m., on Saturday, Oct. 28. This signature SBCO event helps support our food, clothing, enrichment, and education programs benefiting youngsters along a 100+-mile corridor from Catalina to the San Carlos Indian Reservation and the Miami school system. SBCO now also offers scholarships to students in Globe. Annually, SBCO touches the lives of approximately 4,000 students through new clothes, backpacks filled with school supplies, college scholarships, contributions to Tri-Community Food Bank, and financial support for a wide range of educational enrichment activities.
Online registration for the 2023 Walk for Kids began on Aug. 14 at www.community-outreach.org. The registration fee of $30 per adult and $15 per child (ages 6 through 18) covers the cost of a T-shirt, snacks, and drinks.
In-person registration began on Sept. 5 and runs through Oct. 27, every Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., at the SBCO office at Suite L in the Minit Market plaza. Registrations will also be accepted the day of the event. However, to ensure that you receive a T-shirt in your size, you must register (online or in person) by Sept. 28. T-shirts will be available for pick-up at the SBCO office between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 23, through Friday, Oct. 27.
SBCO Fall Meeting and Golden Goose Fashion Show October 16
The SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Fall Kick-off general meeting, which features the popular Golden Goose Fashion Show, will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16, in the MountainView ballroom. This is your opportunity to learn about SBCO’s many programs to feed, clothe, enrich, and educate local youngsters—and see some affordably priced clothing. This fashion show proves that those who shop at the Golden Goose Thrift Shop can dress well for very little money.
Every year Betsy Lowry sifts through Golden Goose clothing donations to find items for the annual fashion show. Clothing and coordinating accessories, from casual to formal wear—and even costumes—are selected for quality and style to display some of the best things available to the Goose’s shoppers. Betsy also recruits volunteers who are willing to serve as models, many of whom contribute their own fashion savvy and sense of humor to the occasion. For some, their wardrobe is comprised of so many Goose finds that they can simply shop their own closet for a fashion show ensemble.
The Golden Goose Thrift Shop evenly divides its proceeds between SBCO and IMPACT of Southern Arizona. Whenever you donate items to the store or buy treasures from its inventory, you are helping to support the work of both of these great local charities. Since its founding 20 years ago, the Golden Goose has contributed $20 million to these two nonprofits, changing the lives of thousands of local residents.
SBCO Announces Its YouTube Channel
In celebration of our 25th anniversary, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach interviewed some of our longtime volunteers. Their memories of our early days help document the effort required to start and sustain an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization. Initially, volunteers had to focus on raising money—no small task in and of itself. Initially, the funds were raised to provide kids with school clothing and shoes. Then volunteers gathered food donations and worked to raise awareness about the needs of residents in nearby communities. It was hard work, often with little money raised, despite spending long hours organizing a fundraiser. However, over time, their persistence paid off. Word spread, more volunteers joined the cause, and sufficient funds were raised to expand existing programs and add new ones.
SBCO has come a long way over the past two and a half decades. It’s good to recall that hundreds of volunteers contributed countless hours of time and their various talents to build what has become an organization that every year makes a difference in the lives of thousands of kids with programs that feed, clothe, enrich, and educate.
We deeply appreciate the many hours of videotaping and editing provided by Steve Weiss. We literally could not have completed this project without his time and expertise. And we owe a debt to the volunteers who agreed to be videotaped and take us on a journey down memory lane. To view interviews with some of our “pioneers,” please visit the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach YouTube channel www.youtube.com/@SaddlebrookeCommunityOutreach.