Parent University, Women of Westfield support care closets


A recent partnership between Westfield Washington Schools Parent University and Women of Westfield has been a huge boost to the schools’ care closets.

Ashley Knott, WWS coordinator of family and community engagement, said Westfield Intermediate and Westfield Middle School care closets were established in the fall of 2019.

Sarah Worth, Westfield High School teacher, reached out to Parent University with the dream of having a care closet at the high school.

“Parent University had some funds and we made it happen before school started,” Knott said. “It’s everything from basic hygiene needs, essentials for students and just really breaking the stigma of having to ask for it. Since then, we’ve continued to develop the care closets at all three schools.”

Knott said they handed out hand sanitizers, face masks, school supplies and laundry detergent.

Knott said the partnership with Women of Westfield helped to keep care closets stocked.

“It really helps them with essentials we didn’t know were essentials until 2020 (with the pandemic),” Knott said. “We have students and parents who don’t want to ask for help and just to provide them that support (is rewarding).”

Care closets allow the WWS counselors to fill the immediate needs of the students. Calculators are in major demand this school year.

“Our classrooms have always had classroom calculators, but without being able to share in some of our advanced math classes, having calculators donated has been a huge asset,” Knott said. “It’s a wonderful gift for our students not to have to do that advanced math on their phone. Women of Westfield has been a huge asset in donating the calculators.”

Laura Crum, manager of public outreach for Westfield Washington Township and Women of Westfield board member, said the group conducted a drive to get items on a wish list. People could buy directly from Amazon or Target.

“The main goal for the Women of Westfield is to build relationships and service with women that live or work in Westfield,” Crum said. “We try to do at least four service projects a year.”

The support from Women of Westfield has been strong.

“We’re finding people are really wanting to help kids succeed,” Crum said. “It’s finding this cause that we can all get behind.”

Crum said there is always going to be a need.

“So, this is a long-term partnership that we can develop,” she said. “We’ve seen our Women of Westfield membership grow tremendously the past year.”