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June 4, 2010

Uniform Project

This Extra Ink was written by Betsy C.

Do you have to wear a uniform to school? If you do, you probably hate it, right? I had a dress code at school for quite a few years, and as I'm sure my mom could tell you, I always complained up and down about it. Having to wear the exact same outfit every day? Oh, man, the whining would have been endless.

Whether you wear a uniform, dress code, or you're lucky enough to wear whatever you like to school, there's something more important to consider: that you can even go to school at all. There are plenty of children and teens around the world who can't afford to attend school, or even to buy the uniforms they might need to do so.

Last year, one young woman took a unique (and stylish) approach to helping impoverished children go to school. She started The Uniform Project, a fundraising and environmentalist effort that centered on her wearing one dress, every single day, for a full year.

Doesn't it get boring? Doesn't it get smelly? Actually, there were seven identical dresses used in this project: one for each day of the week. As for the 'boring' issue, all you have to do is watch the video on the Uniform Project website to see that one black dress really can be worn in 365 really unique and fashionable ways.

To be fair, Sheena had lots of wonderful accessories to make her outfits unique--but most of them were vintage, handmade, or hand-me-downs, so they fit in perfectly with the conservationist and environmentalist aspects of her project. To date, she's raised over $95,000. That's enough to send 263 kids to school!

If you've ever felt too insignificant to make a difference, check out the Uniform Project website. If simply wearing to same clothes every day can help so many children, I can't begin to imagine what all of you will accomplish.

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