Clothes closet opens

Fort Dodge?Middle School students to benefit from partnership with church

Fort Dodge Middle School students are benefiting from a new service available to them at the school. Recently, staff created a clothes closet to assist students with this basic need.

According to Kim Bodholdt, director of school climate transformation, teachers were noticing kids with unclean clothes, clothes in the wrong size, or that students were wearing the same clothes repeatedly. She also noted a couple of students have experienced fires at home this year, which left them needing clothing.

Bodholdt had collaborated with CrossWay Evangelical Free Church in the past, and the staff indicated if there were additional needs they could help with, to let them know. She approached the church to see if they would have space to create the clothes closet and they gladly offered to assist.

“We had talked about a clothes closet at the middle school for awhile,” Bodholdt said. “There was a need and we had clothing available but we didn’t have the space. With the church willing and able to provide space for the clothes we could make the idea a reality.”

Bodholdt stocked the clothes closet with items generously donated by middle school staff and unclaimed items from the school’s lost and found. She formed a partnership with Nick Vinson’s class at Fort Dodge Senior High to provide his students an opportunity to learn a life skill by washing, drying and folding the items for the clothes closet. In addition to donating space, members of the CrossWay Evangelical Free Church donated packages of new socks and underwear. According to Bodholdt, clothing donations are not needed at this time.

According to Saydie Elliott, Bridges Middle School Case Manager, students are very grateful for the assistance.

“Their first response is always awe that we have clothing available for them,” she said. “The kids are excited when they find their favorite team or name brand stuff. We’ve been fortunate to help quite a few kids with this service this year and they really appreciate it.”

Middle school principal, Ryan Flaherty, agreed the clothes closet has been an important addition to the services the school offers students.

“At Fort Dodge Middle School we believe in educating the whole child,” Flaherty said. “Sometimes that means offering healthy snacks to students who are hungry, sometimes that means providing clothes for students, and sometimes that is just in how we greet and interact with students every day. There are a number of ways to show kids we care about them, and the clothes closet is one tangible example.”