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Thompson Kids Can Change the World: Kelly Clingan’s Clothes Closet

Students sorting clothes for the Thompson Valley Clothing Closet

A Dream Turned Reality

Kelly Clingan is a Thompson Valley High School senior and the student behind the Thompson Valley Eagle Clothes Closet. This project, created to support Thompson Valley High School students who need clothing, was initially started in 2016 by one of Kelly’s wrestling teammates, Jonathan Walker. Jonathan dreamed of creating a closet filled with jackets, coats, and shoes for his peers.

Expanding the Closet

Initially, the closet was a small closet in the health hallway, but it grew exponentially through generous donations from the community. In just a few years, the Walkers were able to create a standalone shed for the closet. However, as the closet grew, some problems needed to be addressed. Specifically, there needed to be a clear plan for what would happen to the clothes after they were received and before volunteers put them into the closet.

Making a Difference

Kelly, who was in a leadership class with Jonathan’s younger sister Abby, identified these problems and set out to create a more cohesive plan for the clothes closet. On the website, students can request specific styles or colors, and can make other requests for the clothes they want to receive. Most clothes in the closet are new with tags or in like-new condition. This “grab and go” setup helps to eliminate the stigma that some students may feel when they need to ask for clothes.

Continuing the Legacy

For Kelly, the ability to impact her community and help others is incredibly fulfilling. She says, “service is a really important part of my life, and it makes me feel fulfilled as a person.” Kelly is proud to play an integral role in the Thompson Valley Eagle Clothes Closet and hopes to set it up so that it can continue in the future and continue to help students in need.

Thompson Kids Can Change the World

Every spring, Thompson School District holds the Thompson Kids Can Change the World Contest, which helps students implement an idea they have to make a difference in the world.

Kelly Clingan was a 2021-22 winner of the Thompson Kids Can Change the World Contest for her project of creating a cohesive plan for the Eagle Clothes Closet, a free clothing resource for students in need at Thompson Valley High School.