By JESSICA GOODMAN
Enchanted Closet started out as a community service project based on the belief that no high school girl should miss out on going to prom because she could not afford a dress.
Enchanted Closet’s mission resonated within the Atlanta community, triggering a rush of support, receiving hundreds of formal dress donations during a three-month collection drive accompanied by a clamor of people wanting to volunteer for the organization.
The individuals who work within this organization have been able to see the connection between clothing and a girl’s self-esteem and view this connection as an opportunity to empower young women.
“Enchanted Closet does more than just give disadvantaged girls the means to go to prom,” said Chanel Rogers, program development coordinator for Enchanted Closet. “Our mission is to physically, mentally and emotionally outfit girls from low-income families in metro Atlanta through programs that ready them for social and professional milestones.”
The GIRL$ program, a service-learning program, focuses on life preparedness and skills development for girls between the ages of 12 and 19.
“The purpose of the GIRL$ program is to increase [the] self-awareness, self-esteem and self-sufficiency of middle school and high school girls,” said Rogers.
For this program, Enchanted Closet hosts monthly events that center on an individual topic.
“These events are free and consist of hands-on activities, seminars and community service activities,” said Rogers.
Through the GIRL$ events and activities, girls are given the tools for growth, self-sufficiency and success.
GIRL$ MOVE!, GIRL$ READ!
The GIRL$ program has two sub programs within itself: a health and fitness program called GIRL$ MOVE! and an educational book club program called GIRL$ READ!
GIRL$ MOVE! focuses on promoting healthy living in order to prevent childhood obesity.
“This program emphasizes healthy eating, healthy living and the importance of physical fitness through seminars and activities,” Rogers said.
Another GIRL$ program is GIRL$ READ! This program was developed to increase the book readership of girls through active reading and discussions.
“GIRL$ READ! is a book club,” said Rogers. “This branch of the GIRL$ program promotes education and the importance of not only reading but discussing what you read as well,” said Rogers.
GIRL$ programs are the key to giving participants the knowledge needed to help with life readiness and skill development.
“Participants of the GIRL$ Program are given the opportunity to volunteer in their community,” Rogers said. “We provide service programs on Global Youth Service Day [and]Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and at Enchanted Closet,” Rogers said.
The GIRL$ Program is not just focused on community service programs but learning programs as well. Some of the GIRL$ programs are Build a Bridget, Don’t Burn It!: Mentoring and Marketing, Journey to Success: What to Take; Tell Me Then Show Me: Public Speaking, Interpersonal Skills, and Problem Solving, True Love Does Not Hurt: Teen Dating Violence Program and GIRL$ Get Your Mind Right: Emotional Intelligence.
“GIRL$ programs are designed to teach the participants lifelong skills and inform them on issues that they may encounter in their lives,” said Rogers.