Dressed for School, a new nonprofit in Valparaiso, is thrilled to share some exciting news. Natalie Achonwa, of the Indiana Fever, was recently awarded the season-long WNBA Community Assist Award presented by State Farm. This award is given to players who “reflect the WNBA’s passion to make a difference in the community.” Natalie, a standout player at the University of Notre Dame and 2014 graduate, has chosen Dressed for School as one of the recipients of her award. The organization will receive $10,000. All of us at Dressed for School are so grateful for this, and we want to thank Natalie, the WNBA, the Indiana Fever, and State Farm.
In a video that the Fever featured on their website, Achonwa said she feels like an adopted Hoosier since her time at Notre Dame and the past five years with the Fever, so any little bit that she can give back to the community means the world to her.
"For families on financial aid, or that are normally unable to pay for or buy new clothes for school, Dressed for School allows them to have a fresh start," she said in the video.
Dressed for School, Inc., is a new local nonprofit with the goal of providing Valparaiso Community Schools (VCS) elementary students from low income or in-crisis families the experience of shopping for new clothing at no cost. Our vision is for all students to have the same opportunity to attend school with confidence and social acceptance.
We are fortunate to have the support of VCS. They have provided us with a classroom that we have transformed into our store. Like a traditional retail environment, the Dressed for School store, located in Valparaiso Alternative Learning Experience (VALE), is complete with fitting rooms, racks of new clothing, and a checkout desk.
This fall, we had our first distribution of clothing, and we served more than 250 students. Each student, paired with one of our volunteers, was able to choose a wardrobe of 5 pairs of underwear, 5 pairs of socks, 4 bottoms, and 5 tops. Our second distribution will take place in spring 2020. Appointments for VCS elementary students from families in need and/or in crisis are available year-round by going to www.dressedforschool.org or by talking with your student’s school social worker.
At Dressed for School, we believe children can build self-esteem from selecting their own wardrobe and taking ownership of the clothing that they wear. As a result, students will feel confident attending school and perform at a higher level, wearing clean, appropriate, and well-fitting clothing.