Talia's Closet looking for a new home
Talia’s Closet is looking for a new home.
The program, which is operated by the Youth Resource Centre at Abbotsford Community Services, supplies new or used gowns, suits and accessories to be worn by local graduating students who may not have the financial means to buy or rent their own.
“For many young people, high school graduation is a great success, and if graduating students want to be celebrated, then financial reasons should not stand in the way,” said youth worker Laurel Curtin.
But the program may be in jeopardy.
Two years ago, the Sevenoaks Shopping Centre provided a vacant space on the second floor. The location was used for the donation of dresses, and as a preparation area for volunteers such as seamstresses, hairdressers and photographers.
But the space has been rented and Talia’s Closet must relocate.
“While we are sad to give up the space, we certainly understand the needs of the landlord and their business decision. We thank them for their generosity,” said Curtin.
The group is appealing to Abbotsford’s business community, or anyone, to help find access to a clean, dry, centrally located space that will allow Talia’s Closet to continue.
But the clock is already ticking. The new tenants are set to take over the location on Oct. 1, leaving about three weeks for the group to find a new home and move.
“We’re just starting to introduce young men’s wear, but now that we are moving we will have to wait on that,” said project coordinator Linda Hamilton, who began the program with just 10 dresses. Today, thanks to community donations, there are more than 100 gowns to choose from.
The program is free for the students, and the organization works with local high school counsellors to find students who need the service.
“We at the youth resource centre have seen for years how hard it is for some of the youth we work with, that worked so hard to overcome obstacles, to graduate. But then there’s no money for them to do the whole thing,” said Simone Maassen, youth resource centre supervisor.
She said most girls who use the service are surprised by the quality of the dresses.
“They think, ‘OK, I get some sort of a second-hand something,’ but what they get is like a ball gown so they are really blown away by that.”
The first year of the program helped outfit 10 girls. In 2012, the number grew to 20.
This year, the program was going to expand to help Mission students, but all plans are now on hold.
The group is looking for any kind of storage space, hopefully big enough for a second room where girls can try on the dresses.
The current location is approximately 800 square feet, but organizers would be happy with any usable location.
Anyone who may be able to assist can call 604-859-7681.