Ebony Keys, Lesa Butler and Val Lunka. Photos by Glory Weisberg
By Glory Weisberg
Clothes to Kids of Denver had its Reading, Writing and a Wardrobe Luncheon at the Wellshire Inn Event Center and it attracted 150 supporters, who were eager to learn more about this nonprofit, and were encouraged to “Say Yes” to “Clothe a Child-Change a Life.”
Kids who head off to school face challenges, and for the 73 percent of kids in the Denver Public Schools who are from homes where their families live at or below the poverty level or are in crisis, just jumping off the school bus can be fraught with insecurity.
Kids need to have the confidence to focus on learning, wearing outfits that actually fit, are in good condition and resemble what the others are wearing. Clothes to Kids outfitted 559 such kids this year so far and in their five years since opening their doors they’ve provided 18,000 wardrobes.
The agency started in Florida and spread to Denver. Gail Cerny, Joyce Meyers, Lesa Butler and Mary Overington are local founders.
An emotionally charged testimonial came from client Ebony Keys who has three boys and one girl, each at different schools. One child is blind in one eye and another has severe attention deficit disorder, ADHD. The four children got needed outfits with the help of local staffer, Val Lunka, whom Keys said, “is wonderful!”
The luncheon was free but, of course, costs money to put on and each guest was urged to donate an amount equal to the average retail cost of five outfits per student, about $300. Clothes to Kids needs just $35 a child to outfit a student. Then there’s the store’s rent, cost of four part-time and one full-time staffer and the Say Yes Campaign.
Katie Jones Jadwin is executive director, Val Lunka is development director, Robin Rose is program manager and Doria Barajas is program associate. BMW of Denver Motorcycles sponsored the luncheon.
Among those at the luncheon were Annie Achee, Jessica Bachus, Lou Bluestein, Cathy Bowman, Brian Brinkerhoff, Nikki Gordon, Beverly Hachmeister, Helen Hayes, Michele Hobbs, Heidi Hoyt, Mari Anne Imhoff, Lisa Kitsmiller, Sabra Knauf, Peggy Lehmann, Amy Leonard, Randi Lewis, Heather Quiroga, Sam Robinson, Nik Stoffel and Victoria Vernon, among others.
Joyce Meyers and Anne Row
Katie Jadwin, committee advisor, and Eileen Robinson, Slavens School parent volunteer
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