Spaulding High School students launch ‘Compassion Closet’ to support unhoused peers

Jun 7, 2024

Inspired by the mantra, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” students from Spaulding High School have established the Compassion Closet to assist unhoused students in obtaining essential items they may struggle to access otherwise.

This initiative aims to foster a more inclusive and supportive community within the school. “In a world where kindness often feels like a rare currency, lending a hand to others is the truest measure of our humanity,” said Ava Sutton, one of the students involved in the project.

With the support of Principal Justin Roy, the group has worked to ensure the project’s sustainability, even as they prepare to graduate next week. Student advocate Landon Blackey shared “Compassion is what drives me every day. It’s my fuel. Every time I do something nice, I hope it creates a ripple effect. Almost like throwing rocks in a pond… it changes things. The best part about it? Anyone can be compassionate.”

Organizers envision a private, welcoming space where their unhoused peers can access clothing, personal care supplies, shoes, and accessories. The school’s guidance counselors will manage access to the Compassion Closet to ensure privacy and confidentiality.

According to research, students perform best academically when their basic needs are met. By providing necessities, the Compassion Closet allows students to focus fully on their education without the distraction of unmet needs.

The Rochester Rotary Club generously provided initial funding for the Compassion Closet, however, students are seeking donations of NEW items, including:

  • T-shirts, sweatshirts
  • Pants, shorts
  • Socks, underwear, bras
  • Hair accessories (brushes/combs, clips, ties)
  • Shoes
  • Makeup, cologne, perfume
  • Personal care supplies (shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, razors, tampons, pads, etc.)
  • Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags

For more information or to make a donation, please email [email protected].

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