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Care Closet for Homeless Students Opens at Torrington High School

June 5th, 2017

On June 5th, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. at Torrington High School (THS) there was the grand opening for the Care Closet. The Care Closet is a new resource for youth experiencing homelessness and youth in unstable housing. 
The Care Closet is a student-driven project that was developed to help students access basic needs in the event they do not have stable housing to return to each night or find themselves in a homeless situation.   Examples of items that will be made available to students include toiletries, personal hygiene products, school supplies, umbrellas, and gift cards.
In 2015, EdAdvance’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Outreach Coordinator and the Torrington High School administration partnered with the CT Coalition to End Homelessness to commission a Schoolwide Estimation Survey to gauge housing instability among Torrington youth. The survey revealed, based on self-reports, that over 100 students at THS either were unstably housed themselves or knew of another student who was.  Additionally, in 2015, THS students participated in a community forum at Coe Park facilitated by the Institute for Community Research to assess the needs of youth. These two data gathering efforts led to the development of the Care Closet.    
A committed group of THS students that helped to create the Care Closet formed a Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) group supported by the Northwestern Connecticut Community Foundation (NWCCF) this school year.  The NWCCF helped students with numerous startup costs associated with the Care Closet and provided structure to their newly formed group. Next school year the YIP group will proceed with furthering the development of the Care Closet.
The Care Closet has been made possible through the partnership and collaboration between Torrington Public Schools/Torrington High School; EdAdvance, the Regional Educational Service Center in western CT; the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation; United Way of Northwest Connecticut; and the Northwest CT Chamber of Commerce. 
If you would like to donate items to the THS Care Closet, please contact Michelle Anderson, EdAdvance Homeless Outreach Coordinator, at 860.489.8552.
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