Tips & Advice
- 12 July 2012
- by Alex Gresick
As teenagers, you may be reluctant to start your own service project or organization because you feel your age is limiting. As you have read in several blogs on this site, starting your own service project is actually quite simple! You’ve also gotten the chance to read about several teenagers that have broken this assumption and have started their own organizations. California high school student Allyson Ahlstrom founded her own service organization called Threads For Teens. Threads For Teens is a non-profit organization that gives under-privileged teen girls the opportunity to receive free, brand new clothing.
Allyson founded Threads for Teens in January 2010 when she was fourteen years old. Her main inspiration for creating this organization came from reading the book Generation Change by Zach Hunter. The book talks about different service projects that teenagers participated in to help their communities. This book led her to realize that people of any age can make a difference in their communities.
The main reason Allyson decided to create an organization to help girls who are less fortunate find new outfits is because she feels clothes directly have an impact on how a girl feels about herself.
“Every day, people make a conscious decision about what they will be wearing. What a person wears can reflect on how he or she is feeling about himself or herself. When a girl feels great about what she has on, she has more confidence and higher self-esteem. At Threads For Teens we strongly believe and know that this is true. With each new girl that comes to the shop, we see how girls are affected, knowing that they will like what they are wearing,” says Allyson.
Girls are nominated to receive a new outfit by social workers through a form on the Threads For Teens website. “All girls are accepted to be a part of the program as long as they are nominated by the appropriate party (school counselor, social worker, foster parent, etc.)” says Allyson. As of right now, boys are not included in Threads For Teens, but Allyson hopes to include them in the future.
Allyson realizes providing service to people who may need it is an important thing to do and is something that must be done throughout the entire country. Like Volunteen Nation, Allyson hopes to expand Threads For Teens across the nation.
“My goal is to have Threads for Teens in all fifty states,” says Allyson. “I plan to start expanding next spring, after this location is fully self-sustainable.”
At Volunteen Nation, we believe teenagers have so much to offer an organization. Allyson realizes this, and encourages any local teenagers in Windsor, California to volunteer on-site at her organization. For those teenagers not in the California area, you can still get involved with Threads For Teens.
“Locally, I am always looking for volunteers to come help with odd jobs around the boutique. On a larger scale, 'liking' the Threads for Teens Facebook page is helpful, because it provides a wider audience for when we do start to expand. If girls would like to mail gently-used prom dresses to Threads for Teens, that would also be extremely helpful,” says Allyson.
For more information about Allyson Ahlstrom and Threads For Teens, and to find volunteer opportunities with the organization, visit: http://www.threadsforteens.org/