Weatherford High School is creating a space for students in need to access cold-weather clothing and other items.
The Sharing Shack will be located on campus in an administration office where the identities of student users will be protected, WHS Senior Class Sponsor and English Teacher Courtney Robertson said. WHS has received donations of clothes and has been promised monetary donations for deodorant, shampoo, underclothes and socks. All donated clothing has been professionally dry-cleaned.
“It is a completely community-founded thing,” WHS senior Keaton Martin, who created the Sharing Shack, said.
Martin continued to say that maybe in the future local clothing stores might consider donating overstocked or slightly defective items to the shack.
“There’s kids at the school that wouldn’t care if the zipper barely zipped; it’s still a jacket,” Martin said. “It’s about making use of what we have and making use of the things we don’t use.”
The Sharing Shack is expected to be open soon after students return to school from winter break, Robertson said. Announcements will be made to let students know that it is open, and if a student is in need, they can access the Sharing Shack via their school counselor. If the Sharing Shack doesn’t meet the student’s needs, then Robertson and other WHS staff will look for a way to procure what is needed.
“The counselors work real hard, and the teachers, we work really hard on building positive relationships with our students and so sometimes a teacher may know a need that a counselor doesn’t and vice versa,” Robertson said. “The faculty and staff at Weatherford, we’re always looking for ways to not just serve our kids educationally but the whole student, and this is a wonderful way that we get to participate in helping as well.”
Martin came up with the Sharing Shack idea after he recognized a need in the student body. The idea came about as the weather grew colder, and Martin realized that not everyone may have access to winter wear while others may have winter clothes to donate, he said. The idea grew to include multiple clothing items and other supplies.
“You see kids walking around in 35-degree weather in a ratty long-sleeve t-shirt or shirts that have holes in them, stuff that makes it pretty apparent that they don’t have the resources necessary to have the adequate clothing,” Martin said.
Robertson said the Sharing Shack project can help build empathy among the student body.
“Those that give will be able to see it being put to good use every day because it’s going to directly benefit,” Robertson said. “When you give to other charities, you don’t always see where it goes and how it helps.”
To get this project going, Martin had to get the project approved by the administration, which involved formulating a plan, recruiting the help of Robertson to sponsor the idea and pitching the plan to the principal, Robertson said. Then, they had to find a location for the Sharing Shack and organize the space.
Robertson said they would have liked to open the Sharing Shack by Thanksgiving but couldn’t because finding a location was difficult. At the time, Robertson was working at the Ninth Grade Center and was not able to work as closely with Martin on the project, she said.
“[Martin has] been tenacious in not letting this just be a good idea that never came to fruition but really being something that he wanted to see and just staying with it until we were able to get it together,” Robertson said.
Robertson said Martin, who she has worked with before in student council, is “an amazing kid” who is dedicated, reliable and has a big heart.
Completing this project is one of the ways that Martin wanted to leave his legacy at WHS.
“It’s all for the betterment of the campus,” Martin said.