Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – CiCi Caring Closet

Name: Ciara Stanke
From:, Texas
Grade: 9th
School: High School
Votes: 52

Over the past year I have been a member of the Teen Advisory board at
McLane. I have been very involved making key decisions for the
children’s hospital, participating in team building retreats and a
substantial part of fundraising activities as a group. After
overhearing a conversation at a meeting by a hospital worker, I was
inspired to take action and adopt a closet at the local children’s
hospital. I learned that clothing was needed for kids who were in
traumatic accidents and their clothing was cut off or children who
have been sexually abused and their clothing kept for evidence. So
many children are involved in this type of abuse at home and have to
go straight from the hospital to a foster home with nothing. I was so
motivated to fill the hospital closet with clothing, so children
could feel comfortable and safe after such a traumatic situation. I
went home and told my family about the concern I had. I wanted to do
something special, but I didn’t know what or how. Over the next week,
I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could do something
meaningful. With a notebook full of ideas, I called the hospital
asking questions. I got a few phone numbers and email addresses. With
this information and a lot of motivation I called, left voicemails
and emailed. I sat and waited, but to my surprise my phone never rang
and no email responses. It never occurred to me with all the effort
that I put forward into starting something that the hospital would
not respond back. I was frustrated, this was supposed to be the
easiest part of my project and it turned out to be one of the most
difficult. Although I was discouraged, I continued to work toward my
goal. I started a CiCi’s Caring Closet Go Fund Me page and shared
it on social media to get the word out. I raised only $20. I was very
disappointed, but this opened up a whole different avenue for me.
Sharing my passion about this project prompted my local volunteer
chair to get involved. She stepped up, became my mentor and suggested
a Halloween themed fundraiser. A few weeks later, I met the McLane
philanthropist. She directed me to the right people to contact and
CiCi’s Caring Closet was back on track. I was full of excitement as
I began planning my very own fundraiser. The Halloween Fundraising
Bash was in full swing. I decided that instead of tickets or money,
the entry fee would be new clothing that I would donate to the
closet. I found a place to hold the event, at a local youth center. I
met the director and we set the date. To get the word out to the
community, I had a flyer made with the help of the hospital
philanthropist. I contacted the local newspaper and told them about
my story. They did an article to spread the word to the community. I
worked every day promoting on social media. I emailed all of my peers
in the Wildflower Guild, a social group I am a part of, to get them
involved volunteering. I also contacted other Girl Scout Troops to
get involved. I’m currently a Senior Scout and have been in Girl
Scouts 9 years. I acquired donations from local business for door
prizes, drinks and snacks. I spent every evening working on the
stations. I used my own money and hand made almost every single game
planned for the fundraising night. That night I lead 25 volunteers to
set up and run the games for a costume clad crowd. It was so
fulfilling seeing how much fun everyone was having. I collected 525
clothing donations for the closet. The future for CiCi’s Caring
Closet is year round donation boxes in my community, increasing
awareness on social media and YouTube, not only locally but on a
national and possibly even a global level to inspire more people to
start clothing closets or a project at their local children’s
hospital. Definitely a 2nd annual Halloween Bash in 2017. A future as
a professional philanthropist, because this project has really left
an impression on me to devote my life to touching others lives.

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