What started as a class assignment quickly grew into an idea for Mountlake Terrace High School senior Daisy Ramirez — an idea that is now helping to meet the needs of students facing challenges.
Ramirez, along with fellow seniors Tessa Lindblom and Cameron Ferguson, have put together Terrace Thrifts, a collection of donated non-perishable food items, clothing, toiletries, blankets and other items available to any student at no cost.
The vision was simple, Ramirez explained: “A completely free thrift store that has anything and everything that’s essential to living,” she said.
The project began late last month after Ethnic Studies teacher Erin Grambush assigned her students to single out a problem or need at the school and then develop a solution for it.
“Within the first day, I already knew what I wanted to do and that was to create some way to give back to the students of MTHS,” Ramirez said. “I wanted to create a program where people could donate their old clothes and books, non-perishable foods and more — a program where if you happened to be a student in need of something, you could come and get that something for free.”
It took Ramirez, Lindblom and Ferguson less than two weeks to gather donations from fellow students and friends outside of school. “We collected shampoo and conditioner, clothes, shoes, hats, jackets, food and more,” Ramirez noted. The items were organized and put on the classroom shelves of teacher and Terrace graduate Jose Aguiniga.
The idea to help students in need at Terrace came to Ramirez after watching friends drop out of school due to hardships in their lives.
“I’ve lost many friends because they had to drop out of school,” Ramirez said. “Either they had moved out of their parents’ house and they were on their own or their parents couldn’t afford to keep (supporting) them so they had to quit school and work full-time.”
“Terrace Thrifts is a place you can go in and get the dinner that you don’t have at home, where you can go in and get new clothes that fit or you can get new books,” Ramirez added.
Ramirez hopes that the collection of donated items makes it easier for students who find themselves neglected or alone in their lives to cope with school. “You don’t have to sign up or have your parents fill out paperwork with permission,” she stated. “You can do it all yourself.”
With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, Ramirez, Lindblom and Ferguson haven’t had much time to promote Terrace Thrifts. But after posting signs around campus, using social media and getting the program mentioned on the school’s in-house Hawk Broadcasting Network daily announcements, the three are starting to see students take advantage of the free items.
The three have even taken steps to directly approach fellow students to spread the word. “Just today we went through the cafeteria taking to groups of students,” Lindblom said on Wednesday.
Although all three founders of Terrace Thrifts are graduating from the school this month, all three are pledging to check in on the program during the 2019-2020 school year to see to its continuation.
“Maybe with this program, we can help keep more kids in school,” Ramirez concluded.
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski
What a great project! I have wondered about a place to send outgrown items that others might be looking for, such as band or choir clothes, sports essentials and graduation gowns.
We would love to have those items for our students! I honestly never thought of gathering school uniform type clothes like that!
My kids have all graduated now, but as this project gets passed along to lower classmen, I’d encourage them to send a message to the band, choir, and sports directors to let them know that there can be a drop off place for repurposing of outgrown essential items for other students, especially for the freshman. I’m thinking of the required basics: suit pants and jackets, black or white dress shirts, black dress shoes, and black dresses for the music programs. For sports it might be things like wrestling kneepads and headgear, spiked shoes in great shape for runners, and such. There’s the hundreds of graduation gowns that only get worn for a couple hours but that would be a big project!
(I meant to say, it would be great to ask the program directors to communicate about this to the families in the program.)
Great ideal! As a senior parent this makes me so proud of the class of 2019. Where can we send in items.
You can bring donations to the main office with a note saying for â€œTerrace Thriftsâ€ and I will collect it and bring it to room 229
This is such a great idea!! I am a 2015 graduate of Mountlake terrace, I would love love love to donate some things that someone else could most definitely use! Are you always taking donations?
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