By Andrea Billups, communications extern
You know that feeling you get when you put something new on for the first time? Maybe you walk with a little more confidence; maybe it just makes you smile. Now can you imagine having to wear someone else’s underwear? I shudder at the thought but that was the reality for girls in the Duval Regional Detention Center until the Policy Center helped launch a partnership with Dignity U Wear, an organization dedicated to providing new clothing to those in need.
At the detention center, girls are issued underwear previously worn by other girls, no matter the size or condition, because new under garments were not available. I feel a sense of pride when I put on new clothes; many people do. Nobody knows this better than Henri Landwirth, a Holocaust survivor and founder of Dignity U Wear. “After I left the camps,” says Landwirth, “I was 18 years old and I was homeless and I promised myself that one day, God willing, I would be able to help other people to not suffer as much as I did.” Providing girls their own new underwear is one step toward doing just that.
The partnership developed out the Policy Center’s visit to the detention center. Bonnie Rose, former director of model programming originally made the connection and reached out to Dignity U Wear to ask if Dignity U Wear could make the undergarment donations available to the detention center. Vicky Basra, vice president of community and program development, is continuing the partnership helping ensure Dignity U Wear knows the specific needs of the girls at the detention center.
The girls at the detention center received their first shipment of underwear from Dignity U Wear a few weeks ago; it’s theirs to keep. That may not seem like a big deal to some but everyone appreciates being respected and treated with dignity. We thank Dignity U Wear for “seeing the girl” and for supporting her dignity.