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Work party helps with Manteca High Success Locker
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Manteca High Schools police resource officer April Smith checks sizes on a rack of clothes in the foreground as Manteca Sunrise Kiwanis Club members finish up their workday in updating the year-old Success Locker. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Manteca High School’s “Success Locker” with clothes of every description was upgraded Saturday through the efforts of some 25 members of the Manteca Sunrise Kiwanis Club.

Kiwanian Terry Malloy said Saturday was a world-wide work day for every club. Some two dozen members from the Manteca club also spent time at the Boys & Girls Club as well as picking up trash on the bike path and at the Library Park.

School resource police officer April Smith said Saturday was a good choice of days for the club to help. When she opened up Saturday one entire clothes rack had pulled off of its wall mounts and covered the floor. The work crew gathered up all the clothes, re-anchored the mounts into the wall, and put clothes back in place.

The clothes closet has three rooms in a modular classroom on Mikesell Avenue on the east side of the campus. One room is dedicated to boys’ clothes, another strictly for girls and a third for needed school supplies.

Hundreds of students are served through student and community donations with the help of Manteca High hall and grounds monitors. Smith said closet wouldn’t have been possible without the help of head custodian Rey Cevazos and two monitors Wilma Gonsalvez and Christy Tavares.

She added that she had sent emails to all city employees asking for help mounting shelving and separating clothes. It was that email for help that tipped off the Kiwanis Club of the need for workers.

Members of CERT – the Community Emergency Response Team – responded with some 20 members on a work day several weeks ago in support of the “Success Locker.”

Smith said she routinely learns of a student in need when a teacher emails her saying she has a student who hasn’t worn a jacket all winter. A school monitor will eventually pull the boy or girl out of class and take them to Officer Smith’s “Success Locker” to select what they need.

The student returns to class having left their name on the clothes that they can pick up after school lets out for the day.

“I just get so much stuff, I can’t keep up with it myself,” Smith said.

She donated 20 prom dresses to Marissa’s Closet in Ripon this past week where some 900 new and nearly new dresses are on racks for high school students to select free of charge.

Adult clothes that find their way to the “Success Locker,” and are obviously not something teens would wear, are donated to Goodwill. Children’s clothes are taken by the officer to Lincoln Elementary School on Yosemite Avenue to help any disadvantaged students on that campus.