Student’s nonprofit to help foster teens thriving

OAKLAND — Six years after a mother and daughter in the Oakland hills began clothing nonprofit 1Closet, the organization is still going strong.

The organization was founded in 2011 by then-high school sophomore Laura Graham and her mother, Sue Graham, after a dinner conversation.

“She had this idea from a very simple dinner conversation. The cornerstone of the topic was about a teenager, a young teen being adopted and what that was like, what it was like being in foster care,” Sue Graham said. “And then that opened up a broader conversation, and my daughter just said, ‘Hey, I think that we could do something and I think I could do something.’”

1Closet continues to be run by high school students and is a registered nonprofit that provides gently used clothing to foster care youth and adolescents. Graham said her daughter was shocked when she learned that high school students in foster care only receive about $200 annually to go toward clothing. She created 1Closet as a way to help expand their clothing options.

“Foster teens are the largest overlooked group of any donation,” Graham said. “Pets have a much greater chance than a teenager. The cards are stacked against them.”

Today, though Graham’s daughter has since graduated, the organization lives on under the direction of Carly Glasson, a sophomore at San Ramon Valley High School.

Since 2011, the group has donated more than 1,000 garments, or about $900,000, to Bay Area charities such as the Center for Independent Living Skills, the Rainbow Community Center and California Kinship Dream Catcher Youth Support, among others.

Donated clothing is sorted and then given to foster organizations, who will then create a shopping experience for foster youth.

Glasson said that what sets 1Closet apart from other clothing donations is that it is young people helping out others.

“What makes 1Closet unique is that it was started by teens and for teens and most of our volunteers are teens,” Glasson…

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