Monet Umana '16 organized high school students in the DC-Metro area to collect and donate clothes to support youth in need this coming winter. “There is a large population of youth in the DC, MD, and VA area who are suffering from homelessness and will really struggle during this winter season. Many people fall ill, freeze, starve, fall victim to assaults, etc.,” said Umana. “Unfortunately I cannot single handedly house all of them, but I knew that I could get my peers together and find some way to support them.”
With four extra large bags of clothes and two big boxes of blankets, toiletries, scarves, socks, shoes, and coats, Umana's “Holiday Free Store” began on a high note. On December 19th, the store, located at SMYAL's (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) youth center in Eastern Market in southeast Washington, D.C., opened to the public. With over 300 pieces of clothing and over 40 guests, the community truly felt the impact of the independent schools in the area. Staff members for the store included Kristin Joostema '16 and Foxcroft student, Natalie Harris '16.
Though it was chilly outside, Eastern Market glowed with warmth as people in need of a coat, a snack or even just a conversation came in and took what they needed free of charge. Patrons who came in empty handed, left with a coat on their back, many sweaters, bars of soap, and full stomachs. “The love that this event brought to DC will definitely last the season,” said Umana.
“By hosting the store, interacting with people and just showing them kindness,” said Umana. “We were able to keep people warm and on an even simpler note, we were able to show people that we care which is such a necessary piece to living a purposeful life.”Leadership Student Life