What an OUTSTANDING morning spent at Note in the Pocket in Raleigh, NC! Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen 2015, McKenzie Hansley, along with all 41 of the 2016 contestants came to give of their time. And they did so with heart & smiles! The girls arrived with bags in hand to fill up the donation bins… excellent condition clothing of their own that will now be proudly worn by very appreciative children in need. I arrived expecting to capture their thoughtful activity, but ended up witnessing & learning so much more than I’d imagined…
Note in the Pocket
Once everyone had arrived and the bins were overflowing, the girls (& I 🙂 ) then learned more about what they were there to support. The girls listened intently as Operations Director, Michele & Executive Director, Dallas shared the mission & history behind this organization.
Note in the Pocket is an organization that clothes children with dignity and love! And wow, are they passionate about that with all their heart! They were started by one family wanting to make a difference, and have multiplied with interest, support and love ever since. It is their belief “that it is unacceptable that children are limited in their educational and social development because they do not have appropriate clothes for school”. So that is where they come in… Children of need are identified by community schools & social services contacts (remaining anonymous to the organization). Note in the Pocket then provides high quality used or new clothing to these children of Wake County. In fact, they provide an entire two weeks worth of outfits for school – complete with socks, bras, underwear & shoes when available. They even work very hard to ensure that all clothes are appropriate, fun, in good quality… clothes that children from preK to High School should be able to wear & be excited to get to wear!
The sweet story behind Note in the Pocket‘s name came from their initial experiences trying to help. When they first began, the clothes were returned to them as people did not understand why strangers were giving them clothes. Even when the recipients needed them dearly. So they tried another approach… putting a thoughtful note inside the pocket of the clothes. They tried again and this time the clothes were not returned! In fact, the notes have become a cherished keepsake of many recipients. Numerous stories of recipients gratitude were shared, but I surely wouldn’t do them justice by trying to reiterate them… I encourage everyone to take some time to stop by Note in the Pocket with a donation (clothing or monetary) or to lend a little bit of your time… and hear the stories first hand yourself!
You can learn more about Note in the Pocket at www.noteinthepocket.org. They accept donations and supply all seasons of clothing year round from their Volunteer Center located at:
5100 Lacy Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27609.
After learning the importance of why they were there, the girls were then broken out into teams and jumped right into their tasks! They did a bit of everything… from weighing, sorting & bagging clothes; to separating the clothes that could not be directly used; to sorting & organizing shoes; and inventory. Just before break, the girls even got to load bags full of the clothes that won’t work for Note in the Pocket‘s specific mission into an amazingly full storage truck. These items will be sold at the annual yard sale this August to raise money for the other needs necessary in keeping the organization going.
The girls tackled each area they were assigned with maturity and dedication, all while enjoying each other’s company! One of the staff at Note in the Pocket mentioned to me that they had never had such a large group of volunteers before… they were beside themselves with joy at all the girls were accomplishing!
The girls had earned a break! They were treated to Cafe Carolina cupcakes & lemonade. After which, they got to learn more from Briony, about the different types of clothing that are received… what suits Note in the Pocket‘s mission and what is done with that truck load of bags of those that don’t. They enjoyed a little entertainment getting to see & even try out samples of the wide array of things that are donated. All of which helps in the end!
Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen
The lovely folks at Note in the Pocket were then interested in learning more about the Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen organization. They asked sincere questions & learned with as much interest as the girls had of their program. Some of the things they (we) learned were…
That opportunities like today – giving in service to the community are much more a part of their time than anything else (much more than ‘just being a pretty face’). What an array of different personal platforms the girls have – from adoption to cancer to Miracle Network to bullying & so much more! We learned about the different scoring levels for the areas that the girls compete in. About some of the different talents that the girls have (35% of their score). And about the fitness portion – which does not include swimsuits for the Teen’s, rather identical workout outfits worn as they perform together. That their crown is not just a sparkly accessory, that it is symbolic – very intentionally holding 4 points which symbolize: Scholarship, Success, Style & Service (all of which are important to excel in the Miss America system). We also heard about how the girls feel stereotyped by their peers and how they have a special bond, knowing what their world is truly like and how much time, commitment, etc they give… hard to understand by those outside of the organization.
The girls openly shared their answers, stories & experiences as they sat together. Briony got to try out Kenzie’s crown & learn how to pivot. Then the girls finished out the morning with a demo of their fitness routine before finishing up their tasks and heading back downtown.
Wonderful job girls and all for a very wonderful organization!! Thanks so much to both organizations for the memories & learning’s I received while getting to capture your memories!