Dickerson library group uses funds from event for new uniforms for local students
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
While many organizations have given away backpacks and school supplies, one community group decided to help local kids with their back-to-school needs by giving away new clothes.
The Friends of the John H. Dickerson Heritage Library gave away school uniforms to 50 children on Monday and Tuesday at the John H. Dickerson Heritage Library, located at 411 South Keech St.
The event was attended by Ida D. Wright, Volusia County School Board District 2 member and Bethune-Cookman University’s dean of the College of Business & Entrepreneurship.
“I am very thrilled that uniforms were able to be provided to our schoolchildren. I wish that we could give every kid a uniform, but we’re doing the best that we can,” Wright commented. Volusia County has a school uniforms policy.
Supported Black business
Janice Shaw, president of the Friends of the Dickerson Heritage Library, said the group was pleased to serve children in the community.
She remarked, “We are located right here in the center of the community. We are also near a couple of affordable housing developments. Who better for us to serve than the people in this area and community?
“Many of these children come in the library on a daily basis. Many also attend the free breakfast and lunch program here during the summer.’’
The library group purchased the clothes from Destination Uniform, a school uniform company located inside the Daytona Mall. Destination Uniform is a Black-owned business.
‘A great idea’
Shaw explained how she got the idea for the clothing giveaway.
“In 2016, I attended an event where Ida Duncan Wright spoke. She told us about kids having to wear uniforms. We thought about the parents who had a lot of kids who really couldn’t afford uniforms for all of them.
“I went to another organization, but they weren’t as receptive. So I brought it here and the librarian Inez Jeffries thought it was a great idea, and we got it going,’’ she added.
Tiffany Smith, a mother of three boys, was thankful for the clothes she received for her kids.
“I appreciate this and I am thankful. I think this is a very nice gesture. This is also really helpful for us parents, especially for all of us single parents.”
Added Shaw, “I really do think there is a need for these types of activities in the community. There are a lot of people that need help. I don’t see this as a charitable thing. I just see doing this as the right thing to do, especially for children.’’
This is the second year for Volusia County public schools’ uniforms policy. The policy didn’t come to the school district without resistance.
Wright reported positive reports.
“When we went to uniforms in the school district, prices were rising and we were in an economic downturn. We thought about how we could make life affordable for parents. Working at B-CU in the business school, we discussed uniforms. We want parents to just be able to go into the stores and get something simple for their kids to go to school in,” she explained.
“Uniforms made life simple for students and teachers. Our dress code problems have tremendously decreased in elementary and middle schools. We still have challenges in high schools.”
Tops and bottom
Those who got uniforms from the library group received two tops and one bottom. Parents signed their kids up and gave their school name and kids’ sizes.
The Friends of the Dickerson Heritage Library paid for the uniforms, spending about $1,400.
Funds were raised through the organization’s Author’s Function fundraiser.
“We had the funds in our treasury. We do one fundraiser a year, which is our Author’s Function fundraiser,’’ Shaw noted.
This was the second consecutive year the group gave away uniforms. In 2016, 30 children were helped with uniforms that costed around $900.
The Friends of the John H. Dickerson Heritage Library is a non-profit organization that is a support group for the library.
“The library does programs over the summer for local youth. We are a support group,” Shaw explained. “We assist her [the librarian] with things that she needs that the county doesn’t give.
We are available all year.”
For more information on the John H. Dickerson Heritage Library, call 386-239-6478 or visit www.volusialibrary.org.