The Pink Feather Foundation was created in 2011, in an effort to help our community any way that we could. We did a lot of fundraising events for cancer patients, fire victims, and people in need. We became a 501c-3 nonprofit organization in 2014, and tried to continue helping those in need. In 2017 we discussed being more focused on one area. We decided that we would like to help teachers get the clothing they need for their students without costing them anything out of pocket.
Working in the school system myself (Joni) I have witnessed the heartache teachers go through as they watch their students go out for recess on a cold winters day without a coat or boots. I have stayed up all night worrying about my students and if they are warm enough over the weekend. We, as teachers, would love to be able to purchase items that our students desperately need, but the need is great and costly. As I investigated solutions to this problem, I was surprised to find that there were none, so we worked hard to created one. We have decided that we will partner directly with teacher’s and collect gently used clothing to put on our free online “store”. Teacher’s can invite their student to sit with them and shop for clothes they like. Every item is free. It is completely anonymous, we only ask for the teacher’s name, the grade and gender of the child for our records. The package will be delivered to the office in nice packaging to encourage the feeling of receiving new clothes. The student and teacher will decide if the student feels comfortable bringing the package home with them at the end of the day, or if a parent or guardian should come pick it up after school.
Our hope is to eliminate the helpless feeling that teachers and guardians may have and replace it with a bonding experience between teacher and student as well as a better relationship between teacher and guardian.
We aim to cater to the psychological needs of our youth. Adolescents feel more comfortable when they can blend in with their peers as opposed to standing out, and their clothing is the number one way they do that. If a student is not comfortable in the clothing they are wearing they tend to not want to draw attention to themselves. They won’t raise their hand in class, or will avoid having to make presentations as a few examples. Having clothing that allows them to feel comfortable and blend in will also increase self esteem and productivity in class. School shooters are often students who feel like outcasts, and though we know our program is not a cure for these events, we hope to help make students feel more comfortable within themselves as well as solidify a bond between students and teachers. By allowing these children to be able to shop for themselves, pick out clothing that they like, and have those items be delivered in a fashionable package feels less like a hand out and more like a shopping trip. Our clothing is in like-new or new quality.
It has been brought to our attention that some students don’t sign up to play sports because it is a requirement to dress up for away games and they don’t have any dress clothes. We would be able to provide them with both dress clothing as well as sports clothing for practices, and possibly even sports equipment depending on what has been donated.
We have a formal section for students who would like to attend dances where they normally wouldn’t be able to afford the dress or suit.
We also have a maternity section for pregnant teens.
Since we rolled out the idea on December 31st, 2017, the outpouring of support from the community has been amazing. We currently have received thousands of articles of clothing donated, and have started out by servicing sixteen schools in the MSAD17 and RSU16 districts. We are looking for clothing donations in great condition to have a good variety in sizes 3T up to all adult sizes. We will also need volunteers to help process the incoming clothing. If you are interested please fill out a volunteer application. Check out our Facebook page for up-to-date information on ways you can help.
All clothing items that do not meet our standards will be donated to other local free charities.
Joni Gordon- President Joni and her husband Tim have been married for eighteen years and are from Oxford, Maine. Together they have two girls, Madison and Mallory. She works as an educational technician for MSAD17, and is currently studying to get her teaching degree. She is an original cofounder of the Pink Feather Foundation in 2011, and has enjoyed supporting her community through various fundraising and volunteer work. She is passionate about children and meeting their needs as well as teaching her own children the importance of giving back to their community. Both of her daughters have been involved in volunteer work since they were three- and five-years-old, and are now very active in our clothing package program established in January of 2018.
Jen Kyllonen – Treasurer Jen has two incredible children, Sadie and Rudy, and is currently an Oxford resident. She works at a local family owned business in Oxford and has been a “Jen of all trades” for them since 2000.She also fills a per diem spot at CMMC in the Emergency Department as a registration clerk. She is an original cofounder of the Pink Feather Foundation in 2011, and is passionate about people and her local community.During the holiday months you can find her and her children counting bottles to raise money for the local Christmas for kids program and delivering centerpieces to local seniors for the holidays.She believes our children should be encouraged to come to the need of others and understand that it is ok to reach out for help if it is needed.
Pink Feather Foundation . 822 Main Street, Oxford, Maine 04270 . firstname.lastname@example.org Mailing Address: 108 Lewiston St. Mechanic Falls, Maine 04256
Joni Gordon (207)461-2226 ~ Jen Kyllonen (207)576-1589