Have you ever felt embarrassed? You know what I mean… Maybe you tripped on a small object in front of a crowd, told a corny joke that no one laughed at, or did something that made you a public example. Whatever it was, you felt embarrassed, and nothing can really describe that butterfly feeling of embarrassment.

Nonetheless, I felt that this morning… Why? Because it is DAY 3 of #closetstrike, and I literally am approaching 72 hours in the same outfit. Not only do I NOT have any other option in my closet, but I reflected on how embarrassing and humiliating it is not to have a simple change of clothes. I can only imagine how children (students) feel who have to endure shame because of poverty, and a lack of resources.

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Well, after I went through the day, I received a phone call from a friend asking me about why I was doing what I was doing… He made mention that it didn’t seem to connect to anything for him, or he may have missed something. His statement was in no way belittling the campaign, but was uplifting (which is why I am writing this). He, like many others are wondering what is the end goal for this entire project. He wanted to know what resolve will come of me wearing an outfit for 90 DAYS straight… Well, here is the answer:

Last year, I had a chance to go into several schools (K-5), and work with many elementary students who attend Title 1 schools. Upon working with them, I observed that many of the students were impoverished, and had on uniforms and outfits that they wore every single day (literally), or they were underdressed (lacking socks, belts, and other basic items).

I started asking educators about this and found out that many students suffer because their family lack resources, or have little means to replenish worn clothing. This touched my heart…

Therefore, I took it upon myself to research disconnectedness of students when it comes to learning…. I found out that in many ways attire & low self-esteem affects academic performance among students (especially those who have tons of social pressures).

My heart immediately went out for those students, and I wanted to come up with a solution. Therefore, #lovebeyondwalls created a uniform called, “Uniform of Hope.” Below is a pic

LBW-Uniform-Mockup

I dreamed of creating closets for students who often times lacked closets in their own homes to provide of to students who struggled academically. But, instead of contributing to each individual students, I made it our goal to create closets for 5 schools (K-5). Why? Simple. To empower schools with the necessary resources for students. Also, this would give our organization a chance to do work in the school system, and teach students how to identify and solve needs in their own communities.

But, I was left with one delimma… I didn’t fully the challenges know students go through (or have to face) when they have to endure this type of shame.

Therefore, I took it upon myself to give up everything I own to walk in their shoes to raise uniforms for students that we will meet in August. I vowed to take three months to do this…

During the three months, I am planning to work with many individuals to help build these closets of hope for students in need (with uniforms)

Two things will come from this:

1) #lovebeyondwalls will impact students, families, educators, and

2) #lovebeyondwalls will launch a program to teach students how to raise awareness and solve problems that exist in the world.

Therefore, this is how #closetstrike was born. As days go by I will keep you guys updated on the progress, and also share with you the schools that we are partnering with this coming school year. Thanks for your support!

Terence

 

Terence Lester

Author Terence Lester

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