PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- The Sharing Shelf of Family Services of Westchester (FSW), assisted by more than 200 community volunteers, recently turned Port Chester's Carver Center into a one-day shopping haven called Teen Boutique.
The room was filled with hanging racks, tables and even bleachers stocked with colorful, stylish spring clothing for teen girls and the walls were decorated with hot pink and black flowers and signs.
“I can’t believe how you’ve transformed the space,” said Alex Chavarria, director of Community and Family Services of the Carver Center.
Throughout the event on April 26, more than 140 teen girls and many of their mothers and guardians, all from families in financial need, perused the displays and chose from the array of items. Each shopper received a certificate entitling her to select more than 30 items including shirts, shorts, sweaters, skirts, dresses, shoes, pants, belts, handbags, jewelry and even new socks and new underwear.
All of the clothing was donated to The Sharing Shelf by members of the Westchester community and everything was pre-screened to guarantee quality before being offered to the girls and women. This was the sixth Teen Boutique (formerly known as GirlTopia) offered by The Sharing Shelf.
The Sharing Shelf first organized the event in November 2012 as a way to provide teen girls with the opportunity to choose their own clothing.
“Teen Boutique ... was again a reminder of the importance of not only providing clothes that these girls need, but empowering and allowing them to make their own choices,” said Deborah Blatt, program director. “I love to see the smiles on the girls’ faces. It makes it all worthwhile.”
On April 24, teens from Rye High School’s Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team were joined by teens from the Carver Center, the Graham Windham School and Iona Prep - together they loaded vans and moved items from The Sharing Shelf’s Port Chester warehouse to the Carver Center.
On April 25, more than 100 volunteers converged and transformed the gym into a burst of color, carefully hanging, folding and displaying each item. By Sunday morning, the room was ready and the teens arrived eager to shop.
“Teen Boutique succeeds because the Westchester community comes together to make it happen,” added Blatt. “It’s an amazing event and I am so grateful for everyone who helps make it happen.”