Attention Seattle Clotheshorses: Your Shopaholic Skills Could Help Foster Kids

If you’re like us, you’re already looking forward to the weekend. No plans yet? You might try checking out this volunteer opportunity with Treehouse Wearhouse,  a store where foster kids can pick up clothes and other essentials free of charge. Drea Emslie, who’s 28 and lives in North Seattle, is a frequent volunteer with The World Is Fun for all sorts of events — but she says Treehouse is especially close to her heart. This morning, we talked to her via email about her experiences.

Q: Describe a day of working with the Treehouse Wearhouse. What do you generally do during the four-hour volunteer shift?

A: “Your job duties at Treehouse can vary depending on whether or not the store is open for business or not. If the store is closed your typical day involves sorting through all of the donations of clothing and toys and then storing them in the correct places in the warehouse. This is a fun task as you get to see all of the cute clothing for children and teens. One thing I really appreciate about Treehouse is their diligence in ensuring that they clothes they put out on the rack are contemporary and “new” looking. They do not accept clothing that is stained, have holes or is something not considered fashionable. It is important for kids to feel connected with their peers and not self-conscious about their appearance so it’s nice to know that Treehouse helps gives children and teens self-confidence to walk the halls of their schools and feel good about their clothing.

Other duties include organizing all of the clothing and toys in the warehouse so that they are easy to find when needed and separated in the correct age groups. You may also be asked to do some “fluffing” of the store, which, if you have ever worked in a department store, means collecting empty hangers, buttoning up shirts, making sure that the clothing is in the correct size location and general tidiness of the store.

When the store is open it is a whole new experience. You are more than likely going to be out in the front, helping customers just like you would if you were working in a department store. You help children and parents find clothes, sizing, clean up as clothing gets moved around, ring up customers and answer any questions they might have in regards to how many items they are allowed to take.”

Q: Since it’s a volunteer opportunity through The World Is Fun, I’m going to assume it is, in fact, fun. What do you enjoy most about working with the Treehouse Wearhouse?

A: “It is fun. I am a clothes freak myself. … So I love sorting through all the clothing and deciding what is hip and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like infant and toddler clothing, because it’s so darn cute! I also enjoy sorting through the toys. I am a big kid at heart so its fun to see all the toys that have come out since I was a child. Its also neat to see some of the extremely old school toys that are donated.

Treehouse is my favorite volunteer job because I have a lot of experience with foster children. My father and his girlfriend currently have a household of 6 children that are now adopted but started off as foster kids. There are many different reasons why someone can be down on their luck. Sometimes it is through that person’s actions and sometimes it is circumstantial and someone just got the raw end of a deal. With children who end up in situations where they are in need of assistance I feel like we need to do everything we can to help ensure that they have a fighting chance to improve the quality of their lives.”

Q: What would you say to someone who is considering signing up to volunteer this weekend?

A: “I would tell them that it’s an awesome opportunity to meet great new people, play with toys, and help make sure that on the first day of school every kid that walks into this store has an opportunity to strut into school wearing some sweet duds that they are proud of!”