You Rock! for June 2015: Juanita Elementary Earth Day Clothing Drive

Juanita Elementary School PTA has worked hard trying to find new events that will bring together the school and local community. This year they took part in a clothing and textile drive by partnering with Clothes for the Cause and made it a true community event for the city of Kirkland. By hosting this event on Earth Day not only did this clothing/textile drive help to bring the community together by promoting a common goal of recycling and reusing, it also helped to raise money for Juanita’s outdoor education program.

This event planning started in June 2014 when the PTA pondered how to raise money for outdoor education without having to ask students and families to sell products or ask for more monetary donations.  At a school with over 30% of the student population receiving free and/or reduced lunches, the need for scholarships is high. In addition, as many schools experience, fundraising can be challenging, especially when it’s all year long. Thus, the idea was formed to raise money by collecting items that people already have in their households and would like to donate or throw away.

By tying this event to Earth Day, they made a conscious effort to get students involved in learning about the importance of recycling and reusing. They also decided to make this a community event rather than something strictly limited to the students and staff at Juanita.  Press releases were sent, neighboring schools were contacted, PTSA council members were emailed and local business were asked to help to spread the word. In addition, social media was used extensively over the period of a few months. Finally, students and families at Juanita walked through neighborhoods hanging 900 door tags and spent time talking to their neighbors.

While the event centered on Earth Day, the PTA collected items for two months prior. A local storage company donated a unit to store the many donations, a local bank housed a collection box, some families offered pick up services, and Clothes for a Cause provided many materials and a large truck for a big collection day the weekend prior to Earth Day.

Altogether the event really had a community feel to it. PTA members received many comments from Kirkland residents of how happy they were to see Juanita Elementary School participating and holding such a great event. Plus, it was fun to watch neighboring elementary schools come together to help each other out.

With community help, 1,267 donations bags were collected and 15,508 pounds were kept out of the nation’s growing landfills. In addition, money was raised to help fund outdoor education.

In the end this event far surpassed their original goals and expectations. This was such a great community event for the city of Kirkland, that the Juanita Elementary School PTA is already planning another one for Earth Day 2016. The Juanita Elemenatry PTA is excited to “again join with our community to make a difference not only in our student’s lives, but for our whole community,” said PTA co-president Allison Clevenger.
For more information contact Allison Clevenger, juanitaelpta@hotmail.com