In my work as a restorative practices assistant of Metro Nashville Public Schools for middle schools, I work with families whose average household income is under $18,500 a year. As you might imagine, covering the basic needs for many is a struggle and buying well-made, name brand clothing is typically not a possibility for these families.
As I began to form connections with the students at the school, I soon learned that a majority of our student’s absences and behavior incidents stemmed from them not feeling confident in the clothing that they were wearing. Coming from similar backgrounds as the children I currently serve, I am familiar with the mental health and feelings of a child who is without. However, now I am in the position to give back.
It didn’t take much to imagine what a difference it would make for students to be able to wear clothes — known as “drip” to young people — that would make them feel comfortable and boost their self-esteem. The idea of a name brand clothing drive started to take shape, and so the “Drip Drive” was born!
I put out the word through [social media, word of mouth, and through broadcasting of multiple news stations] and for 12 weeks, I collected new and gently used kids clothing. More than 1,500 items were donated.
The day of the Drip Drive had finally arrived, and last December 15, for three hours, John Early Museum Magnet Middle School was set up like a shopping mall. Students were able to come in and with the help of a personal shopper and find the perfect outfit for them. Shoppers selected apparel from brands such as Nike, Gucci, Dior, Jordan, Addidas, and more. During the event, free concessions and raffles were given away to students’ favorite places to shop.
Through the smiles and gratitude, it seemed like we met our objective of helping students build a little confidence and empowering them through fashion. More than 160 students were served that day.
It brought me back to that great feeling that I had in high school. While at CJ — and with the help of Ms. Harbaugh, my senior year capstone project led me to realize that impacting the youth brings me genuine joy, and that with an idea and some of my time, I could help change someone’s life.
Young people continue to inspire me. Seeing the impact that last year’s Drip Drive made has caused me to grow my goal of providing students with access to resources — raising self-esteem and building self-confidence, to now reach students across the district, state, and eventually, the nation. This past March, I was able to present Drip Drive to the State Representative of Tennessee. As a result, I plan to begin a private foundation in the summer to help further expand the Drip Drive across the United States during the 2023-2024 school year — including Dayton, Ohio!
About the author
Makayla lives in Nashville, TN and is in her second year of serving Metro Nashville Public Schools. In her free time, she loves to travel and shop. “The Drip Drive brings me great joy because I am able to combine my two favorite activities while making an impact!”