Karen Crosby said she has two goals for The Locker: Make sure every child has a sense of normalcy, and teach students to be service-minded.
Crosby founded the group in 2008 as Eagle Locker at Georgetown High School as a way for students to help meet homeless students’ basic needs, such as hygiene products and school supplies.
The group now serves any student in need at participating schools, including Cedar Park and Tom Glenn high schools. However, Crosby said the group’s core mission to teach students to serve others has not changed.
“It really is about kids helping kids,” she said.
At each participating campus, The Locker has a room called a locker that is stocked with new school supplies, hygiene products and some clothing. The rooms are stocked and managed by students, and students can access the locker at any time anonymously.
“The kids do not abuse The Locker because they are the ones stocking it,” she said.
Crosby said the group has five core principles— student leadership, thoughtful service, authentic learning, reflective practice and sustainable partnerships—that guide everything the organization does.
She said by learning about hardships other students face and how to help them, students feel empowered, and there has been a culture change on campuses participating in The Locker.
“Every time I do something for The Locker, my heart gets happier,” said Laura Rativa, president of the East View High School chapter. “We are a family that works for the same goal. Our purpose is that every kid has a sense of normalcy. … It’s good to know what your peers are going through and try to help them.”
The nonprofit’s leadership is mostly madeup of students. Each participating campus has its own student leadership team, and The Locker board of directors comprises five adult members and seven students.
“The kids are stepping up for each other. You can see a change on campus,” she said. “They stop making fun of those kids, and say, ‘Maybe they actually need help.’”
The organization also raises funds to help students with items, such as paying for caps and gowns for graduation or advanced placement test fees, as well as everyday items, including clothing and bedding, Crosby said.
Student needs are communicated to the nonprofit by school principals, coaches and counselors.
“That’s thoughtful service,” she said. “We need to know what someone’s needs are so they can have a sense of normalcy. That might be different for each student.”
Crosby said for some students, that need might be graphing paper or covering the cost of a student activity so a student does not have to stop participating.
Avery Vita (left) and Miranda Salmon sort inventory for The Locker at East View High School.[/caption]
Since its inception, the nonprofit has expanded to most of the campuses in GISD as well as schools in Cedar Park, Leander, Jarrell and Tyler.
Crosby said her goal is to see a locker in every school in the nation.
“I’ve been contacted by probably 10 other high schools that are going through the process [of joining the organization] throughout the state,” she said. “It’s pretty exciting.”