Street Youth Smarts

Street youth helped solve problems with some of the clothing store rules.

In a recent Thursday clothing and self-care event, our volunteers felt the rules weren’t working. We had a town hall meeting about why we limit clothing choice to two tops and one bottom, and how difficult it’s been for our volunteers to assure fairness. The youth had some solutions of their own:


  • Street youth receiving clothing on Thursdays shouldn’t ask for additional clothing at other times in the week from the Fig Leaf clothing store.
  • Street youth should bring clothing (often discarded because it’s dirty) to the church where a volunteer washes and returns it to Fig Leaf for someone else to use.
  • Street youth should be willing to ask businesses and organizations to donate clothing to Fig Leaf. SYM will provide flyers for this purpose.
  • Street youth should limit themselves to the same amount of clothing per week as other “shoppers” at Fig Leaf. It’s the honor system, and dishonorable behavior means you can’t come for a while.
  • Street youth should go into the shop only once per Thursday for their selections. If they need to come back, they should ask the store volunteer if it’s okay. This will make it much easier on volunteers to ensure fair access.


No changes or procedures too big that might make someone feel unwelcome or be perceived as a barrier. The street youth just want everyone to help keep the volunteers happy, the clothing store open, and the access barriers low. I was so proud of the way they discussed and proposed solutions for themselves! It was awesome. And I commend the volunteers for bringing the problem to our attention!


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