By Margaret Stewart, Communications Director
One of the grants that stick in my memory given by the Community Foundation occurred in 2001 from The Family Court Judicial Benevolent Fund. This fund helps children who are wards of the court by purchasing school clothes, supplies, paying for extracurricular classes and sports and has even bought bunk beds and dressers so kids could be reunited with their moms.
Early on a March morning in 2001, we were asked to provide funding for a 15-year-old girl who had been homeless, living in a garage, and caring for her disabled father. She had not in her memory, ever worn girl’s clothing. Dressed a cobbled together outfit from the Children’s Cabinet’s closet, the young woman accompanied by a court officer, met me at Target and we began the serious business of shopping with a teen. Hours later the cart was heaped with everything she needed to look stylish and comfortable in high school: jeans, tops, a dress, a skirt, a denim jacket and a warm coat along with several pairs of shoes, socks, and underwear. The amount we spent seems modest to me today, but it was an undreamed of an amount of money to this teen. After a professional haircut at the adjacent salon and a sandwich at Port of Subs, she was smiling, beginning to talk with us, and gaining the confidence to go to school. The reality of her situation was daunting and clothes were just a small piece of the help she would need in the coming days, but we were happy for that moment. I returned to the office exhausted but feeling like I had the best job in the world. That feeling, and the memory of her shy smile as she twirled around in front of the dressing room mirror, remains.