By Lindsay Rosenberger
High Point University Sophomore
and Impact Austin Marketing Committee Intern
Helping Hand Home (HHH) for Children received the Girls Giving Grants award in 2014. This $5,200 grant was specifically made to help the Kid's Closet program at HHH, providing new, seasonally-appropriate, and well-fitting clothing to the children there. The outcomes of the grant are shared in this video.
This blog offers a closer look at how the program has grown and what HHH has accomplished. To provide valuable insights into the evolution and impact of the g3 grant, we interviewed Vanessa Davila, the Director of Strategy and Planning for HHH. Over the past nine years, the Kid's Closet program has undergone significant changes and positively transformed the lives of countless children in need. Join us as we delve into the details of this inspiring journey and explore the program’s impact on the community.
Expanding horizons: from g3 funding to a thriving program
What is the Kid's Closet program? The Kid's Closet program provides quality clothing to children in need. No secondhand clothing is accepted from donors, and volunteers will spend time picking out different clothes at stores. If a child has a specific need, like soccer cleats or a ballet tutu, volunteers will take the child to pick the needed item at a retail store. HHH works with youth from ages 4 to 13.
The 2014 g3 award provided crucial funding for the Kids Closet program. Since government support only allocates 50% of the funds that HHH needs, the g3 grant was a crucial step to organizational success. About a year ago, the Kid’s Closet program expanded its services, leading to a new, larger building in Hyde Park. This expansion from a one-time "closet" allowed HHH to create a store-like experience, offering high-quality, brand-new clothing to children in need.
Nurturing confidence and meeting basic needs
The Kid’s Closet program has had a profound positive impact on the children it serves. Many of these kids come from poverty-stricken backgrounds, often coming into HHH with clothes in boxes or trash bags. However, through the program, they are now welcomed into a caring environment, receiving nutritious snacks and brand-new clothing.
Current reach and future aspirations
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kid’s Closet program continues to serve approximately 55 children per year. Currently, the Kid’s Closet program falls under their Residential Treatment Program, which aims to support the kids of the most severe cases of abuse by providing a comprehensive approach. This involves education, housing, therapy, and case managers to reintegrate them into foster families within 18 to 24 months. In the future, they would like to expand to the Family Foster Care and Adoption Program, which involves training foster families and a more immediate home for children.
What you can do to help
The public plays a vital role in supporting the Kid’s Closet program and its mission. Currently, the program emphasizes the need for gift cards from stores like Kohls's and Target, allowing the children to experience the joy of shopping for themselves. Additionally, donations from individuals, businesses, and community groups help HHH purchase essential items such as bathing suits and sports gear. (Find wish list items here.) By contributing to the program, the community helps uplift children in need and provides them with the tools to succeed. There is also a corporate match program wherein businesses will donate to HHH the same amount of money that their employee does. Sometimes companies will even double the amount or match volunteer hours with money.
Overcoming challenges and building awareness
Running the Kid’s Closet program has not been without its obstacles. Navigating the challenges of procuring the right clothing for children during the pandemic required careful adjustments and effective time management. The dedication of volunteers and the support of the community have been instrumental in overcoming these hurdles, ensuring that children continue to receive the assistance they need.
Success at the end of the road
Success stories with children are what lift up the teams at Helping Hand Home. Here's one: John had been placed in foster care since he was 4 years old and had experienced several moves within the foster care system. He then became part of the HHH residential program, where he bonded with his physical therapist Gwen Tao. John and the therapist bonded over many topics, from country music to rodeos. Tao had already adopted three kids but decided to adopt John as well.
Since the g3 Grant, the Kid’s Closet program has expanded and continued to help children in need. From hosting a concert for the kids to providing therapy and education, HHH as a whole helps kids find a home, and hopefully some peace.
Learn more about Helping Hand Home for Children on our website
and from their 2021 service statistics below.