“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” – Robin Williams
This past fall, the Styleshack team and Robyn Coden from Dim Sum and Doughnuts hosted a Fall Fashion Pop Up Shop. There was something special about the Fall Pop Up – not only was it a collective of different fall products from a variety of stores, there was a charity component. Both companies asked anyone who was attending to bring donations of their gently worn clothes – they no longer wanted. The clothing donations were given to an amazing organization called, Threads for Teens.
Now, many months later – the donations have been put to good use. From our Pop Up to the Threads for Teens Pop Up – the donations went full circle… and there is a beautiful story of how it all happened.
The post below was written by high school senior, Maddy Goodman. We are inspired by her ambition to do good in the world. Maddy has started the Detroit chapter of Threads for Teens, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young, less-fortunate girls build their self-esteem, confidence, and give them hope. They accomplish this through gifts of clothing, support, and education.
Maddy Goodman, pictured above – organizing clothes for the Threads for Teens Detroit Pop Up.
As a teenage girl, I know how much an outfit can affect self-confidence. Wearing something I love makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. When I was 13, I saw an article in Clubhouse magazine about a non-profit organization called Threads for Teens. It was founded by Allyson Ahlstrom when she was 14 years old to “empower girls through clothing”.
My heart broke when I found out that girls in foster homes only received a yearly allowance of $75 for clothing. That is barely enough for two pairs of jeans, let alone shirts, socks, shoes, winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves, dresses, swimsuits and under garments. I loved that there was someone doing something about it, and I knew I wanted to help, but I just didn’t know how.
Allyson Ahlstrom, founder of, Threads for Teens pictured above.
I have always been told that my dreams are ‘too big’ and that my goals are ‘too farfetched’ or ‘impossible’ especially for ‘someone my age’, and until recently, I let the nay-sayers convince me that all of those things were true. Not knowing how to overcome the ‘I can’t’ looming over me, I closely followed Threads for Teens as it grew. I loved how it was started by an ordinary teenage girl, just like me. Four years later, I was still in love with the idea of ‘empowering girls through clothing’ – I started Threads for Teens Detroit. In the summer of 2016, as I was entering into my senior year, I knew I wanted to do something for the less-fortunate in my community.
After sending a myriad of letters, making countless phone calls, emails, meetings, donation pickups (including a large majority from the Styleshack Fall Shopping Event) Threads for Teens Detroit had its first event on December 17, 2016 in a Bedrock building in downtown Detroit.
Twenty-six girls came and picked out six pieces of clothing and four accessories of their choosing for completely free. It was amazing being able to meet these girls, hear their stories, shop with them, and see their faces light up when they look at themselves in their new outfit. Seeing them light up with joy looking in the mirror and twirl around was just incredible. I was astounded at how much their confidence changed just in the time from when they walked in the shop, to when they walked out.
These girls inspire me in ways words cannot explain- their smiles say it all.
As Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. I’ve started on this journey to be a part of something meaningful that enables the power of change. Threads for Teens (is) and can be that small change in girls lives all over the country, that can make a strong and long lasting impact.
The most important part, once you have changed somebody’s world just in a little way, that makes all the difference to them.
To learn more about Maddy’s story and Thread for Teens, check out the video below.