I don’t often write about non-profits or charities on GG because frankly–there are so many incredible causes out there, I don’t want to play unjustly play favorites. I also don’t ever want you to feel like I’m imposing my views on you, or asking you for money–because that’s just awkward.
Except for today. I’m totally playing favorites today, because this is something that has become so near and dear to my heart.
Of course, I’m not going to ask you to donate anything, to volunteer, or ask for any of your time (unless you want to!) because you can make those decisions on your own–I simply want to share with you what amazing things are going on in Chicago right now with a non-profit called My Favorite Outfit.
The concept behind My Favorite Outfit is simple–collect gently-used, high-quality second hand clothing, and create weekly pop-up shops in Chicago’s inner city schools, where girls in grades 3-12 can shop and pick out as many outfits as they would like, for free.
Not only does this provide much-needed clothing for them, but also builds self esteem. In order to be eligible to attend the pop up, the girls must set and accomplish a goal, promoting an incentive to do better in school. 90% of the girls who attend My Favorite Outfit pop-ups report feeling more confident about themselves.
I had the chance to volunteer at pop-up last week at Kipling Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side, and was absolutely blown away by the experience.
How it works:
How it works:
At first, the girls arrive in the gym not quite knowing what to expect. Not everyone is friends with each other, as they are split into three separate grades, so there is a bit of awkward shuffling happening. We all get into a big circle, where they complete a self-esteem building ice breaker called “the Post-It Game.”
In the Post-It Game, each girl is instructed to take one, two, or three post-its (without knowing why). Then, they’re instructed to write one thing they are proud of about themselves on each Post-It, and at the end, several responses are read out loud. I loved hearing their answers–from “I am kind,” to “I like my personality” to “I have a great sense of humor.” You could see an immediate shift in attitude.
The girls are then divided into groups of 2-4 for a team building exercise called “shopping showdown.” Each team has to dress their members according to a specific prompt (i.e. “First Day of School” or “Going to the Movies.”) using clothing from the pop-up. This allows girls to focus on the game instead of any insecurities they may be experiencing in the moment. It also breaks up existing cliques and allows girls from varying grade levels to get to know one another.
After two rounds of Shopping Showdown, they’re free to shop the pop up, and can take home as many items as they would like.
The more I talked with the girls at the end of the day, the more I realized this is so much more than a shopping experience! Here are some of the responses I heard when asking them what they liked most about the day:
“I felt rewarded and this got me out of my comfort zone, and I really liked it!”
“It was really cool to be able to pick out my own things”
“I liked getting a chance to see my friends’ personal style.”
“I got to try on different clothes, and I felt like a grown up!”
How you can get involved (if you want to!):
If you’re just as inspired by this organization as I am, there are a few ways you can get involved with My Favorite Outfit:
First, you can participate in the pop ups as a volunteer stylist, or you can even host your own clothing swap! For more info on both, feel free to check out this page. I’ll be volunteering for another pop up soon, so if you’re interested, let me know–we can go together! 🙂
Second, if you’re looking for something more involved, they are planning on hiring for their board and junior board in the next few months. Be sure to check back on the website for more details soon!
Third, if you’d like to make a monetary donation, you can do so right here.
Finally, they have special fundraising fashion show happening on March 31’st at CUSP at Neiman Marcus–where the girls will be modeling outfits (so cute!), there will be a live DJ, light bites and libations, and a percentage of any purchases made that night will go toward My Favorite Outfit! You can snag tickets right here (they start at just $17!)
I hope you feel a little more inspired after reading this post–I know I do just from writing it!