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Hygiene closet opens at Callaway High

Students at Callaway High School now have another service available that helps them overcome attendance barriers — the hygiene closet that is now open thanks to Communities in Schools of Troup County, according to a press release from Troup County School System.

CIS Executive Director Tabitha Coverson said the organization now offers a food pantry, clothing closet, washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer and toiletries. This is all in addition to mentoring, tutoring, and counseling services the organization already provides. 

“We want to help kids graduate. We have found that young adults won’t come to school because they don’t have clean clothes and they fear intimidation from others,” Coverson said in the release.  “If that is the case, they can take a shower at school, use the washer and dryer that we have available onsite, and then go to class with the general population without fear of being bullied or talked about. This takes our offerings and services a step further to help the whole child be successful.” 

Organizers hope the program will also help them overcome issues barriers that may follow them from life outside of school.

“The reality is that everybody does not have the stability that we may have at home,” Stephanie Williams, CIS Coordinator at CHS, said. “Some students have barriers at home that may prevent them from being successful or wanting to attend school. Those barriers may be food because they didn’t eat the night before. It may be the lights are off at home, so they couldn’t dry their clothes…what better way than to help those students remove their barriers than to place their needs right at the school?”

Officials said the hygiene closet is a great addition to the services offered by CIS. 

“We have some great community partners that donate many of the items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary napkins, lotion, shampoo, conditioner and other items that students may need for hygiene or sanitary purposes,” Coverson said. 

According to TCSS, the organization is spread out over two classrooms in a quiet hallway that has a door where students or parents can enter from the inside or outside. 

One room is for case management, one-on-one meetings, and other services. The second classroom houses the clothing and hygiene closet, food pantry, and appliances. 

There are 100 kids served at CHS where the students meet once a month, or more, based on case intensity.  Williams said student cases are sent to the organization through a variety of ways. 

“Some of the students will come to us and say they need our support,” Williams said. “For example, one young lady approached me and said, ‘If you can help my friend then I know you can help me.’ We have cases like that, but we also have students who are referred from teachers, counselors, principals, and even parents.”

CIS services are located at Berta Weathersbee, Callaway Middle, Gardner Newman, Long Cane Middle and Callaway High.