JACKSON – The Christa McAuliffe Middle School has opened the Vintage Shop, for which students may bring in gently used clothing, accessories and other items, and at which their fellow students may go shopping.
The Vintage Shop is in the school library and its purpose is to promote the recycling of clothing and other items. The shop provides a place for all students to find clothing for as little as $1. The store also has personal hygiene products and extra gym clothes available for students who may not have access to those items.
Physical education teacher Victoria Hay approached Principal Debra Phillips with an idea to open such a shop in school.
“It was an idea of having a place for all the kids to go. We have so many different kids at our school, some who are needy and some who do not have an opportunity to have all the clothes they want. We tried to put something together that would help all of our kids at McAuliffe and make it a very cool place to shop,” Hay said.
Phillips asked librarian Lisa Crate to assist Hay and they came up with a plan for a place where students can shop for clothing, school supplies or anything they may need.
“I like the idea not only for the kids who might need the opportunity to shop inexpensively, but also because it gave students at this level the opportunity to have some independence. As we all know, middle school (kids) in general like the idea of independence and being able to go and get things on their own,” Crate said.
“The shop gives them that opportunity. It also gives them the opportunity to pick up some pencils or pens or notebooks, or anything they might need, at an inexpensive cost so they are prepared for class as well,” she said.
Phillips praised the teachers and students who spent time repurposing a back room in the library into a retail space.
“With new paint, new cabinets and clothing racks, with everything organized and labeled, it really was important to us that every student who wanted to shop there would be allowed to shop there. It is an open space for every child in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades to find something they might be interested in,” Phillips said.
The Vintage Shop will be a permanent fixture as long as donations from the community, staff members and students keep being delivered.
“We ask for gently used clothing and we look to make sure it is age and school appropriate. Whatever items we cannot use, we donate to another venue so they have the items for their programs,” Phillips said.
Crate said students are excited about the shop, adding, “They purchase items for themselves, sometimes they purchase items for family members. We had an extraordinary amount of winter clothing and winter coats go over the last couple of weeks.
“The pride the students feel when they come in, knowing they can purchase something for themselves on their own, or something for a family member in need, has been an incredible uplifting sight to see.
“At first we were a little hesitant because we were not sure how the kids were going to take (shopping for recycled clothes), but I have had numerous students say they love shopping here. Students have also said they have good things at home that they can donate, too,” Crate said.
Hay said the Vintage Shop has been a success from the start.