This article originally appeared in the spring 2016 Harker Quarterly.
A lower school dress drive brought smiles to the faces of at-risk and underprivileged youth at the Starbird Youth Center in San Jose. The clothes were part of a larger donation of more than 500 gifts collected for clients of the center.
“There were about seven bags of boys and girls party clothing donated,” recalled Teré Aceves, Harker’s director of event fundraising.
The gently used clothing was collected during a holiday cookie-decorating event. About 60 parents heeded the call for such items.
Harker parent Erin Vokey (Miles, grade 1) is the youth activities supervisor at the Starbird Youth Center and is in charge of the center’s day-to-day activities, as well as its literacy programs.
“We are an after-school program that works with at-risk and under-privileged youth. We help them by providing food, homework help and a safe place to go after school. We also do a program called The Good Choices, which is a basic moral guide that teaches them the right choices to make to lead a better life,” she said.
Around the time of the dress drive, the center also had partnered with the Family Giving Tree to distribute gifts to clients and their families, Vokey explained. “We set up a room where children picked out clothing from the dress drive. This is the second year we have had the dresses there and it was a huge success. Fellow Harker parent Julie Carr (Aiden Harshman, grade 1) and her family volunteered to hand out all of the dresses to the youth in our community. It was an extremely heartwarming event,” recalled Vokey.
Another Harker parent, Stephanie Black (Chloe, grade 1), is the program director at the Starbird Youth Center. “Without her none of this would have been possible,” added Vokey.
Carr and her son agreed that it was wonderful to see the joy on the kids’ faces when they got a beautiful dress, jacket or new shirt. “Stephanie, Erin and the entire staff at the center made it so easy for us to come in and volunteer. We are very grateful for the work they do and proud that we got to represent Harker’s philanthropy,” said Carr.
Of his experience volunteering, Carr’s son, Aiden, reported that it was “really cool.” He said that there were lots of games to play with at the center and that he enjoyed seeing the kids get toys. “It made me feel good in my heart.”
Harker students initiate and participate in outreach activities all year round. Visit Harker News and search “outreach,” or go to http://news.harker.org/tag/outreach, for all the Greater Good stories!