Tiffany's Closet becomes a reality
When Tiffany Love came to Santa Barbara City College she had two goals: to get a degree and to benefit the community. Well on her way to accomplishing the goal of earning her bio-engineering degree, she can also feel confident that her goal of benefitting the community is becoming a reality.
On April 5, 2019, Tiffany and a team of volunteers began accepting donations of "gently loved" clothing (and items for parents and their children) for a clothing pantry on the SBCC campus dubbed "Tiffany's Closet."
The idea for starting a clothing pantry came to her during a visit to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, last fall. Noting that Spelman had a drop-off zone for donating clothing, Tiffany thought about how she might expand on the idea and bring it to SBCC. Full of enthusiasm, she spoke with Geoff Green of the SBCC Foundation. With his pledge of support from the Foundation and the dedication and energy of the SBCC Society of Black Engineers and Scientists club, the dream began to take shape.
By the end of the spring semester, space had been secured near the campus food pantry. Future plans include obtaining a shed similar to the food pantry, along with pop-up dressing rooms.
"I thought about friends here on campus who are living out of their cars, and about single parents struggling to keep their children fed and clothed, and I wanted to do something to help," she said.
Tiffany is quick to acknowledge that whether creating a resource for the community or succeeding at school, "it takes a village."
Those whose support and encouragement have been a source of strength and perseverance at SBCC include Adolfo Corral, STEM Transfer Program Coordinator; Raeanne Napoleon, Faculty Advisor for the Society for Black Scientists & Engineers at SBCC; Chelsea Lancaster and the staff in EOPS; Azure Stewart and the Umoja Community; and counselor Angela Warren.
As for her primary inspiration, that has always been her mother, Pearl, who is now a nurse practitioner but was once a single mother working two jobs while attending community college. "She instilled in me the belief that I could achieve whatever I set my mind to, and was always there to lift me up if I started feeling down."
In a recent interview, Tiffany reflected, "I just hope that what I do inspires others. If you have an idea—any idea—put it out there. It can happen!"