Charity that helps grads in need looking for a new home

A charity that helps high school students in need by providing free formal wear to celebrate graduation is now looking for a new space.

The You Wear It Well Just for Grads Society helps outfit teens from Surrey, Delta, and New Westminster. Now, the Vancouver building where the society stores hundreds of dresses, suits and accessories is being sold, and the charity is going to have to leave the space that’s been donated to them for free for the past few years.

Executive committee member Darcy Sudeyko said the society is now searching for a another secure, dry location where it can safely store donations.

“We probably could get by with 1,000 square feet,” she said, and added any companies or building owners who are interested could also be eligible for a tax deduction.

“We only need access a couple of times a year,” Sudeyko added. “We’ll take a garage, or basement, or barn, anything that can handle our stuff.”

Prior to the pandemic, the society would see up to 200 grads. Last year, it helped about 60 teens.

“Even though some schools weren’t having a ... formal grad event, students still wanted to celebrate the milestone with their families,” she said. “They told us it was important for them to have the gown and the dress to have pictures taken in the backyard.”

Sudeyko said students are referred based on financial need through school counsellors. The group is hoping to hold this year’s boutique day for teens at its current location before it has to leave sometime in March.

“A lot of families of the kids that we deal with have told us that their child is the first in their family to ever graduate from high school. We have been told directly from school counsellors that, but for our program, the students that they refer to us probably wouldn’t stay in high school,” she said. “It’s not just having fancy clothes to wear, it’s the fact that kids are now motivated to stay in school and graduate.”

Anyone who is interested in helping with a new space can contact the group via email at info@youwearitwell.org.