When news anchor Robyn Nance began producing “Wednesday’s Child” features about teens in foster care, all of her own three children were younger than six.
“These kids were amazing and they were hurting,” Nance recalls.
“You look at your own children and how deeply you love them and imagine a child who doesn’t have that feeling of being special and cherished. They all deserve it.”
Feeling compelled to take action, Nance met with foster parent recruiter Linda Rogers back in 2006. TEEN CLOSET (9212 E. Montgomery, Spokane Valley, Teencloset.org) went from concept to grand opening in less than a year.
The boutique-style shop, lovingly stocked and fashionably arranged by community volunteers, allows teenagers pre-screened by social agencies to enjoy twice-yearly shopping sprees at no cost.
“We’ve had children come to us with only what they were wearing,” admits Cathy Mason, whose foster children have been able to pick out wardrobes.
“These children already have a label on them for being foster kids, so having nice clothing helps them fit in,” Mason explains. “The people who donate and give their time are blessing the children themselves, and their families,” she says. Mason and her husband have hosted about 60 foster children in respite or short-term care.
“We want each shopping trip to be a big deal for kids,” says Nance. “And for them to know that there are communities of people who care about them. Putting clothes on them isn’t solving a major life issue, but maybe we do take away some of the pain.”
Mason asserts Teen Closet does more than that.
“The wonderful volunteers are providing acceptance and self-confidence. It gives them a huge, lasting boost.”