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