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Success Locker helps needy high school teens with clothing, supplies
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There’s a plan in the works to create a “success locker” for the benefit of high school students throughout the Manteca Unified School District.

Manteca Police officer April Smith – assigned as the school recourse officer at Manteca High – said Friday afternoon that collections of clothes and school supplies may begin now but the supply room is not expected to be open until sometime in January.

What formerly served as the Manteca Day School, located in the 600 block of Mikesell Street on the high school campus, is going to be turned into the “success locker” to help students reach their potential.  One room will be fashioned for boys and another for girls.  Permanent racks to stack clothing and other donated items are to be mounted on the walls with portable stands in the center of the room.

Officer Smith is asking for everything from clothing to hygiene items to an array of school supplies including calculators and even caps and gowns for those who can’t afford to purchase their own at graduation.  She added that counselors are being asked to refer students who need a little extra support in their lives. Students can also self-refer.

She further noted there will be a referral box for friends of students who are too humble to ask for themselves.  Smith said there will be bins in the classroom the first of the year and a permanent collection bin in the school library.

Following the Christmas break and the spring break the school is planning to have a week-long drive for supplies, she said.  Calla High School is assisting in the program, Smith added. Those students will be coming to the closet to donate items they have already collected.

The officer has brought teachers into the fold including Mindie Dolson, an art teacher, as coordinator and Doug Castle, community club advisor, who is teaching special needs during the current year.

The racks going on the walls of the 800 square foot portable were made possible through a grant from Lowe’s in Modesto. Sierra High School is giving Manteca six free flowing racks for the center of each of the rooms.

Smith said the only limitations in the donations is that the clothing be thoroughly washed or cleaned and there may not be any intimate clothing such as underwear.  She explained that she first mentioned the idea at a school faculty meeting saying people followed her out the door at the end of the session asking if they could help.

“We’re hoping that kids will help in organizing and designing the closet,” she said.  

She said the Lowe’s grant amounted to $2,800. They also gave the school contractors’ prices to get all the materials to put a computer lab together.  The school did not have a computer lab as such; however there were 35 computers in room 57 and 34 in the library.  Now there are two business labs that have been established with 35 computers each.

The MHS leadership class is cholding a food drive through Dec.  17 and a baby clothes drive that ends Dec. 16.  Items may be dropped off at the school office.