The Sharing Shelf of FSW holds Teen Boutique at Carver Center It’s Sixth Free Shopping Day for Teen Girls

04/30/2015 – On Sunday, April 26th, the gym at Port Chester’s Carver Center hummed with activity, and it wasn’t the usual sound of basketballs as the bounce reverberated off the wood floor. The Sharing Shelf of Family Services of Westchester (FSW), assisted by more than 200 community volunteers, transformed the gym into a one-day shopping haven called Teen Boutique. The room was filled with hanging racks, tables and even bleachers stocked with colorful, stylish spring clothing for teen girls and the walls were decorated with hot pink and black flowers and signs.
Alex Chavarria, Director of Community and Family Services of Carver, was in awe. “I can’t believe how you’ve transformed the space.”
Throughout the day, more than 140 teen girls and many of their mothers and guardians, all from families in financial need, perused the displays and chose from the array of items. Each shopper received a certificate entitling her to select more than 30 items including shirts, shorts, sweaters, skirts, dresses, shoes, pants, belts, handbags, jewelry and even new socks and new underwear. All of the clothing was donated to The Sharing Shelf by members of the Westchester community and everything was prescreened to guarantee quality before being offered to the girls and women. By the end of the afternoon, the shoppers, smiles filling their faces, took home nearly 5,000 items.
This was the sixth Teen Boutique (formerly known as GirlTopia) offered by The Sharing Shelf. The Sharing Shelf first organized the event in November 2012 as a way to provide teen girls with the opportunity to choose their own clothing. The Sharing Shelf regularly provides free clothing to children from families in need through more than 50 social services agencies, schools, hospitals and other nonprofits in Westchester County, assisting more than 2,000 children each year. Each child receives a week’s worth of seasonally appropriate clothing matched into outfits according to the child’s sizing needs. A few years ago, Program Director Deborah Blatt noticed that teen girls were not using the service as much and surmised that they would prefer to choose their own clothing. She conceived of this one-day pop-up shopping boutique opportunity as the best approach and has partnered with many in the local community to bring her idea to fruition.
“Teen Boutique this past Sunday was again a reminder of the importance of not only providing clothes that these girls need, but empowering and allowing them to make their own choices,” said Deborah Blatt. “I love to see the smiles on the girls’ faces. It makes it all worthwhile.”
Jennifer, a 14 year old from Port Chester said, “Everyone at the event was so helpful and nice. I really loved the way the clothing was set out and displayed for us to shop.” Days after the event, Jennifer started volunteering at The Sharing Shelf, determined to give back to the community in her own way.
Volunteers are critical to the success of The Sharing Shelf and its Teen Boutique. Blatt founded the program as a volunteer and continues to run the program as volunteer. A committee of volunteers, many from Scarsdale’s Lion Heart’s Club, helped organize the event and volunteers county-wide organized clothing drives to collect the thousands of new and gently used spring and summer items. On Friday, April 24th, teens from Rye High School’s Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse team were joined by teens from the Carver Center, the Graham Windham School and Iona prep – together they loaded vans and moved items from The Sharing Shelf’s Port Chester warehouse to the Carver Center. On Saturday, more than 100 volunteers converged and transformed the gym into a burst of color, carefully hanging, folding and displaying each item. By Sunday morning, the room was ready and the teens arrived eager to shop.
“Teen Boutique succeeds because the Westchester community comes together to make it happen,” added Ms. Blatt. “It’s an amazing event and I am so grateful for everyone who helps make it happen.”

Posted in Press Releases.