PACT closet to hold 2 events to aid low income youth
By Gazette Staff Writer — Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
The idea of creating PACT came after it was known that a youth living at Fillmore Central Station was being bullied at school for wearing “unfashionable” clothing
Providing Accessible Clothing for Teens (PACT) youth closet project will officially open its doors to the Ventura County community on Saturday, April 12th at noon at Fillmore High School, Room 17 (the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Mentoring Room) located at 1St Street in Fillmore which will be a PACT closet grand opening event and ribbon cutting ceremony. Manuel Minjares, the mayor of Fillmore, will be one of our special guest speakers at the event along with our partners from Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Before the grand opening event, PACT volunteers and local radio personality Nancy Rodriguez will host a first event called the “Prom Dress Project” on Wednesday, April 9th from 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. to provide Ventura County girls with more 150 donated prom dresses from which to choose.
The PACT project is part of a community and resident-led leadership program started though the Cabrillo Economic Development’s (CEDC) Community Building division in partnership with the youth leadership group living at CEDC ‘s Fillmore Central Station Apartments.
The idea of creating PACT came after it was known that one of the youth leaders living at Fillmore Central Station was being bullied at school for wearing “unfashionable” clothing. After learning of the incident, the team decided to take action. CEDC’s Community Building staff traveled with five youth to Sacramento in October 2013 to gather with more than 100 community leaders from across the country at the NeighborWorks® America’s Community Leadership Institute (CLI). After attending the CLI, PACT was created.
Bullying often starts when someone judges your appearance,” says Patty Suarez, 18, and one of the youth from Fillmore Central Station youth leadership team. “I saw one girl get harassed because she wore knock-off boots. So the kids in my youth group decided to do something about it.” Patty recently shared this story in an interview with NeighborWorks America (www.nw.org) and featured the story in its national blog http://neighborworksnews.blogspot.com/2014/03/youth-join-forces-to-fight....
Bullying is clearly a problem for today’s youth nationally. With nearly one-third of students reporting being bullied in school and nearly half of adolescents and teens saying they have been bullied online, bullying has reached epidemic levels, especially as some studies connect bullying with suicidal thoughts. At the first ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in 2011, President Barack Obama discussed the scope of the bullying epidemic in schools across the country. “Almost 3 million students have said they were pushed, shoved, tripped, even spit on,” Obama said. “It’s also more likely to affect kids that are seen as different, whether it’s because of the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, the disability they may have, or sexual orientation.”
The PACT Project hopes to make a difference in the lives of local youth by providing free gently used or new clothing, shoes, accessories, and educational items to youth under the age of 18 who are low-income, a farmworker family, or who come from a disadvantaged background. “We hope to help increase the self-esteem of our local youth and thereby help them achieve education success,” says Juliana Gallardo, CEDC’s Community Building Manager. “Already I’ve seen this effort make a huge impact on youth who receive and wear clothing they otherwise couldn’t afford. It’s heartwarming.”
The PACT closet will officially open its doors to the Ventura County community at Fillmore High School, Room 17 on Thursdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. after April 12th. For more information about the PACT project visit: www.pactyouthcloset.org or Facebook.com/pactyouthcloset.
Wednesday, April 9th
Saturday, April 12th