Non-profit helps teenagers dress for success

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Foster kids in the Springfield area were given the chance to pick out clothing and apparel for special life events.

Sixty teenagers, shopping with the help of professionals.

Jalene Gonzalez of Springfield said, “It feels like I’m a little doll, I get to try on clothes and try on heels and people do my makeup it feels really nice.”

The non-profit organization “Help Our Kids” held their second annual “Fitting for the Future” event at Tower Square Saturday. High-schoolers in foster care got the opportunity to shop for upcoming special event clothing.

There are over 2,000 foster kids in the Springfield area, that may never get the opportunity to rifle through nice clothing whether it be for prom, graduation or their first business interview, but Fitting for the Future gives them that opportunity close to home.

Noryn Resnik, executive director of Help Our Kids, told 22News, “Oftentimes a lot of the events that might offer something similar to this take place in Boston, and if the kids don’t have way to get to Boston – either through a foster parent or through their social worker – then they don’t get to shop.”

Erik Kares of Springfield has been in foster care for about five years. “The first time I got in foster care I felt embarrassed, because I wasn’t with my real parents. I felt like I was an outcast. I was a kid without parents, but now like I realize I’m still a normal kid and I still have the same chances as everybody else.”

Kares embraced the opportunity to trade in his sneakers and t-shirt, and transformed into the picture of success he aims to be. “It means a lot like I have a suit you know so I can get a job. I’m going to prom with my girl. I have a good suit now. I got to talk to people I made more friends, I had a fun time.”

Gabrielle Marchant was in and out of foster care growing up, and after her successes she is teaching other foster kids to use the resources granted to them as a volunteer with Fitting for the Future. “Every little bit counts, and that will kind of all build up to the big picture if you just stick with it, and don’t give up, because it gets kind of frustrating.”

Donations for next years “Fitting for the Future” will start being accepted as early as Sunday. Click here to find out how you can make a donation.

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