When there is a need at Western Hills, DECA students step in.
That’s exactly what happened last week when The Green Hanger, a free consignment-type store that puts a whole new spin on donated clothes, shoes and accessories, opened in the school.
In an effort to help other teens in need, Western Hills’ teacher Aimee Wilson; Betty Lawson, youth services coordinator for Bondurant Middle School and WHHS; and a handful of DECA students started the shop, which hands out the donated items to the neediest students in the middle and high schools first before offering them to the general population.
“I just didn’t have any more room for donations,” Lawson said, adding that Wilson came up with the idea of turning the school store into a boutique-type place where students can shop for just about anything — from an interview outfit to a backpack or basic hygiene items.
Wilson originally intended to use the store idea for next year’s DECA project, but the Dailey twins — juniors Kyra and Kendall — convinced her to launch the store sooner.
“She told me about it and two weeks later we had it up and running,” said Kyra, who, along with her sister, spent a weekend applying layer after layer of light gray paint to cover the dark forest green that previously adorned the walls.
But if you are thinking The Green Hanger is packed with garbage bags full of bedraggled, out-of-style donations, think again. Name-brand clothes hang wrinkle-free from store racks. Watches and jewelry, much of it the costume variety, sparkle inside a glass case. Colorful ties and purses are suspended from wall-mounted hooks. In the rear of the shop, shoes fill a repurposed library book cart near the changing room.
About two dozen students have already taken advantage of The Green Hanger since it initially opened Wednesday. But it will be the first two female customers, who left with sacks full of clothes, Wilson will remember.
“Just hearing them giggling while they were in the dressing room — this is why it’s worth it,” she said. “Then, they wore the outfits they picked out the next day to school.”
While The Green Hanger is pretty well stocked on clothes, there are a few items it needs, including flipflops, lunch boxes, packages of new socks and underwear, hygiene items (bath wash, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste), bags and accessories.
Even though they aren’t necessities, makeup, purses and jewelry — which many teens can’t afford — have been hot sellers, according to the Dailey sisters.
“It’s the small things that make them more confident,” Kyra said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Donations for The Green Hanger will be accepted until the end of the school year at WHHS.
For Wilson the hectic two weeks it took to start the store was well worth it the moment she saw a student clutching one of her former purses.
“It makes you feel good to see someone using these things again,” she said.