In the spring of 2017, we were notified by Dennis Uniform (our uniform provider for over 40 years) that they would be changing the shade of green they offered for uniform vests. The dark hunter green color that we had grown accustomed to was changed to a lighter version of green. So after much internal discussion and many negotiations with Dennis Uniform Company, we decided to require the new color for the 2017-2018 school year in order for all students to be “in uniform”. To offset the cost of a new vest, Dennis offered vouchers to families which brought the price down to about $10 per vest plus free shipping.
What developed from this uniform “crisis” was an incredible project led by one of our Kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Katie White. Mrs. White was determined to find a good use for our “old” vests and set out to find another school, possibly outside of the US, who could use them. After a long search, Mrs. White connected with Seattle Academy and an amazing partnership developed.
Seattle Academy has relationships with many organizations within Zambia and were willing to find a home for our over 100 vests. The Seattle Academy team (made up of students and teachers) contacted a long-time partner, Mrs. Olive Mumba, founder and leader of a Lusaka school and the Birdland School to see if she had any idea who could use the vests. Mrs. Mumba then reached out to a number of Catholic schools in Lusaka, seeking an appropriate recipient. Mrs. Mumba chose St. Peter’s School in Lusaka. This particular school had been seeking donations of uniforms for some time, but had never been successful, largely because shipping costs could not be borne either by St. Peters nor by interested donors (this is a recurrent theme–shipping of any items is prohibitively expensive).
After sorting and packing the sweater vests, Mrs. White delivered them to the team leaving for Zambia in mid-July. Students of Seattle Academy hand delivered the St. Mary Magdalen School sweater vests to St. Peter’s Catholic School students. With the help of St. Peter’s staff, sweater vests were given to over 90 students. This is teamwork at its finest…THANK YOU Seattle Academy!
The remainder of the dark green sweater vests were donated to the Ragfinery, a non-profit training business and textile reuse center located in Bellingham. It is through the effort of Mrs. Katie White and the amazing team at Seattle Academy that this special project came to fruition.