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A Caring Community

Hoover students and staff collaborate to create a clothing donation center for those in need
Hoover+senior+Raegan+Russell+and+juniors+Madison++Zemelka+and+Miah+McClure+work+with+Hoover+staff+member+Mrs.+Julie+Carroll+in+%0Asetting+up+the+North+Canton+Closet.+The+students+are+in+Mrs.+Lindsay+Talkingtons++class.+
Mrs. Lindsay Talkington/used with permission
Hoover senior Raegan Russell and juniors Madison Zemelka and Miah McClure work with Hoover staff member Mrs. Julie Carroll in setting up the North Canton Closet. The students are in Mrs. Lindsay Talkington’s class.

The North Canton Closet will open its doors in early September, where North Canton families can come and select various clothing items they struggle to find and afford in stores. The Closet will provide families and individuals with resources they cannot afford, and donations will be accepted throughout the year. Students in Mrs. Lindsay Talkington’s class have worked hard for months sorting and washing clothes, transporting them to the Northwood campus and cleaning and prepping the empty school to house an incredible community closet. The North Canton Closet is not a small project but a grand venture. These Hoover students took on a much larger project than they had ever undergone before, and they cannot wait to see what the Closet becomes. From purchasing items like hangers and racks to deep cleaning and stripping the area of old, worn-out garbage, the Hoover team worked hard for months to create something that would support, provide and assist multiple North Canton families in need.
When asked about the North Canton Closet, multiple Hoover students agreed upon various things. Many said the project was “simple and fun,” but every adventure comes with setbacks. Thankfully, there were no detrimental obstacles, but the process was full of exciting and memorable experiences.

Photo shows the transition from an old classroom on the Northwood
campus to the North Canton Closet. (Mrs. Lindsay Talkington/used with permission)

“These obstacles made the project a little more difficult, but we were able to find solutions to all of our concerns with the closet thus far,” Talkington said.

When beginning a new project, it is challenging to know exactly where to start, what steps to take, and how to create the image. The Hoover team’s biggest challenge was figuring out the first move. The idea originated from Mr. Henry Householder, one of Hoover High School’s associate principals, when he saw another school in Mentor, Ohio create a similar project. The Mentor school called theirs the Cardinal Closet, sparking some inspiration for the North Canton Closet.

“Mr. Householder came to me with the idea because of a special education teacher he had heard of in Mentor, Ohio who started a similar store,” Talkington said. “Mrs. Hackney and I went to tour this store, and the teacher there told us all about how she got the store up and running with the help of her students.”

Now, the project was no easy task at hand, but it held a lot of cherished memories and new experiences for the students and the staff involved. The project offered students a chance to learn about
hard work and utilize skills that will help them in their futures.

“Some of the best experiences have been seeing my students learn skills that will translate into another job in the future as well as into other parts of their everyday lives,” Talkington said. “Seeing their faces when they were shown the before and after pictures from the store was definitely a highlight from this whole experience.”

The idea became a reality thanks to dedication, motivation and funding from the North Canton City Schools Education Enhancement Fund. The fund helped alleviate many of the “start-up costs” such as hangers, racks, bins, cleaning supplies, etc.

“Without this grant, getting the necessary items for start-up would be very difficult and would be based solely on the donations we’d be able to get from others,” Talkington said.

The project was a major collaboration project between Mrs. Talkington and her students, Mrs. Kathy Yaros from North Canton’s iCARE team, Mr. Householder and construction teacher Mr. Ashton McKelley and many of his students. The project has ranged from cleaning to building, and none of it would have been possible without everyone’s dedication and productivity.

Photo show the transition from an old classroom on the Northwood
campus to the North Canton Closet.

The iCARE team is a generous, supportive program that is a collaborative effort between counselors, teachers, family support specialists like Mrs. Kathy Yaros, school nurses, support staff, and many other individuals. iCARE provides resources and support to North Canton students and families who are struggling. Mrs. Yaros has been a great help in making the North Canton Closet come to life. She formerly worked in the Jackson Township school district, where she worked on a similar project a few years ago.

Like many community projects, this requires patience, productivity, communication and most importantly, collaboration.

Photo shows the transition from an old classroom on the Northwood
campus to the North Canton Closet.

“I am so grateful for this school and support from the community. Our community has such a generous heart towards our students,” she said. “North Canton is very responsive to our requests for donations.”

Without the donations from local families and individuals, the grant from North Canton and the collaborative effort between multiple persons, this project would not have been possible. Right now, the North Canton Closet has restricted hours and is not entirely open to the public. Yaros hopes to have the Closet be a “readily available resource” to those who need everyday clothing items and even special occasion attire.

“I’m hoping that [the North Canton Closet] will supply families and students with necessary clothes,” Yaros said. “CARE team, of course, helps families have what they need so that kids can come to school ready to learn, and a lot of times, it’s having the proper clothing.”

Being ready for school does not always mean having a new book bag, new binders, colored pencils or safety scissors but also having clean, appropriate clothing, and that is exactly what the North Canton Closet will provide to individuals.
As summer approaches, the North Canton Closet will be accepting gently used clothing that is in style, in good condition, clean and ready to wear. New underwear and socks would be greatly appreciated, as that is something in great demand.

Photo shows the transition from an old classroom on the Northwood
campus to the North Canton Closet. (Mrs. Linday Talkington/used with permission)

Many of Talkington’s students are prepared to graduate and move into the next chapter of their lives. Multiple will be attending Transition You at Walsh University to improve and gain life skills, work skills and vocational skills. Some will be looking for their first job, and some will attend Clear View, which is a similar program to Transition You. The North Canton Closet creation process allows these students to take a step forward in their education, communication skills and work ethic. Many are prepared to graduate and turn the page into their next chapter, and the Closet will help prepare them for what is to come.

“I hope this project teaches my students that when you set a goal for yourself, you can reach that goal through hard work and help/ collaboration from others. I also want them to also realize the good that can come from working hard to help others,” Talkington said.

McClure and Zemelka work on organizing clothing for its opening. The North Canton Closet was the result of grant written by Mrs. Lindsay Talkington, awarded by the North Canton Education Enhancement Fund and will serve the needs of the community. (Mrs. Lindsay Talkington/used with permission)
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About the Contributor
Sophie Imhoff
Sophie Imhoff, Chief Entertainment Editor
My name is Sophie, and this is my second year on staff. I’m looking forward to being chief of entertainment this year and being able to focus more on design. I’ll be diving this year as well as running track, which will be two newer sports for me. Newspaper has definitely become a favorite class of mine, and I’m considering minoring in journalism in college!