CLOTHES TO KIDS OF DENVER is one of seven local charities nominated in Citywide Banks’ Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place October 1-14, 2013. The Denver/Boulder community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. The charity receiving the most contest votes will receive a $5,000 donation, while the other nominees will split $2,500 in donations based on the voting results.
For kids, it’s hard enough fitting in and feeling comfortable at school. But if all you have is old, worn out, and out-of-fashion clothes, or shoes and socks with holes in them, your academic performance and self-esteem can suffer. Research shows that clothing impacts multiple aspects of the school experience from academic performance to social acceptance.
That’s where local nonprofit, Clothes To Kids of Denver (CTKD), steps in to help. Its mission is to help students feel prepared for school by providing those who qualify with a free wardrobe of new or quality used clothing and shoes.
“Our goal is to help students feel comfortable, confident and ready to learn in school,” explained CTKD Program Director Katie Jones. “When students feel good about themselves they are more likely to attend school and fit in with peers, which is essential for academic success.”
Four women with a mixed bag of skills from accounting to social work, who saw the tremendous impact of the first Clothes To Kids in Pinellas County, Florida, founded the Denver nonprofit in 2008. The founders felt inspired by the impact of the store in Florida and saw the opportunity to create a resource that addressed the high level of need among Denver’s children for school clothing.
Students who qualify for the Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL) program through Denver Public Schools, and all kids in Denver’s foster care system, qualify to “shop” for clothes at the CTKD store located in south Denver. A surprising 71% of students enrolled in Denver Public Schools qualify for the FRL program. Given that number, it’s easy to understand why CTKD is anxious to grow. Of the 50,000 students who qualify for a free wardrobe only 4,400 will be served by CTKD this year – and that’s a 20 percent growth over last year.
The CTKD store looks like any other clothing store, with racks of clothing organized by size and fitting rooms. When students come to shop, they’re assigned a volunteer personal shopper to help them select five tops, four bottoms, a dress (optional), a coat, a pair of shoes and five pairs each of new socks and underwear they get to take home as part of their wardrobe package.
Unlike other organizations that give coats during the winter or focus clothing drives around the back to school season, CTKD is open all year round. They’re also unique in the fact that they outfit children from kindergarten to 12th grade, where most organizations focus only on young kids. The charity also provides some baby clothes and accessories for applicable client families.
CTKD is always looking for volunteers, quality used clothing, and financial donations. They spend $32,000 a year alone on underwear and socks. They have strict style and condition guidelines for donated clothing that gets displayed in the store. It has to be stain-free and clean, smell good, have no tears, and be in style for today’s school age children. Things that don’t fit their guidelines often get passed on to other agencies. Most of the donations available in the shop are from individuals and families. CTKD also receives sizable in-kind donations from their partner corporations including REI Denver, Garb Inc. and Miller International.
CTKD is looking for more volunteer personal shoppers to help students pick out clothes. If you are over 18, a high school graduate, and looking for a fun way to help impact our local youth, please contact the organization for learn about volunteer opportunities.
A donation of $5,000 from Citywide Banks would go toward purchasing socks, underwear, pants and shoes to fill holes in their inventory after the back to school rush. “Our business doubles between August and January,” says Jones. “We go through things very quickly and a $5,000 donation would help ensure that kids had a good selection of clothes to choose from when they visit our store thorough the end of the year.”
For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.ClothesToKidsDenver.org.
Vote to Give CTKD a $5,000 Hand-Up
As a Colorado owned bank focused entirely on the Front Range, Citywide Banks shares a commitment to our local community with Clothes to Kids of Denver. Through our Charity Hand-Up Contest, we are proud to spotlight the great work and ongoing needs of local nonprofits. Based on the results of a 14-day Facebook vote, the local community will determine how $7,500 is split among seven Colorado charities nominated by Citywide Banks employees. The charity receiving the most votes will receive $5,000 and the runner-up will receive $1,000. The remaining donation amounts will correspond to the voting results for each nominated charity. The voting public can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at some of Denver’s top restaurants. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/charity/.
How to Cast Your Vote – October 1 -14
The contest is open to the general public within the Denver/Boulder community (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to cast a vote and enter prize drawing online. One vote/entry is permitted during the 14-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity.
Spread the Word about Clothes to Kids of Denver
Tell your coworkers, friends, and family in Colorado about the great work CTKD is doing. Then, tell them to cast their vote on Facebook during the contest. Use the sharing buttons above this article, on the Facebook voting page, or throughout Citywide Banks’ social media pages to help spread the word.