A Look at the Nevada Union Clothes Closet

What is it? How does it work? And how is it helping students in need at NU?


Maddie Prudhomme, Staff Writer

The Nevada Union Clothes Closet program provides a unique service for the students at NU. The NU Clothes Closet is a “…boutique-like space where students can come and shop for free, for clothing, toiletries, backpacks, shoes, and jackets.” (Kim Carnahan). The Clothes Closet has provided help for dozens of students in need throughout the years.


Kim Carnahan is the founder of the NU Clothes Closet and volunteers at the closet helping students in need. In 2012, it was brought to Kim’s attention that there was a young girl on campus who didn’t have proper clothing and really was in need of clothes, but she wasn’t able to obtain them. Kim says, “I was thinking to myself, if there’s one student on campus that’s in this situation then there’s probably many.” So, she approached Marty Matheson, the principal of Nevada Union at the time, asking for space on campus. Kim was given an empty portable in G-wing that she decorated to look similar to a delightful boutique. Also, with help from contractor friends Todd Biersdorff and Brian Foster, she was able to acquire some custom fitting rooms. Kim certainly made the Clothes Closet a comfortable space for students like this girl to come and shop for whatever they may need, whether it’s a toothbrush and toothpaste or a warm jacket for winter. 


The Clothes Closet offers everything from shirts, pants, and shoes, to jackets, socks, and shampoo. Kim initially stocked the closet from her own household and from donations of gently used clothing. As of now, most of the clothes are fairly, if not totally new, despite being absolutely free. Kim says she mostly shops for the Clothes Closet at Costco and Old Navy. Also, the Clothes Closet is open to anyone but, you must be referred through the nurse’s office, first. And students who are in need may come back as many times as they want, as long as they get referred through the nurse’s office each time. Also, Kim currently has two close friends that volunteer to help with the Clothes Closet, Cara Happe and her daughter Quinn. Quinn organizes the clothing and Cara and Kim work with the students. The students in need at NU are very thankful for the time and effort that Kim, Cara, and Quinn put forth to care for them.


There are many ways the students at Nevada Union benefit from this program, in fact, many boys and girls rely on Kim, Cara, and Quinn. Kim and her fellow partners love helping the students in need. Kim says “Our main purpose is to help self-esteem for all of our students, we want everyone to feel like they fit in with everyone else…and have a sense of caring and hope”. Kim feels that the chance of success is greater with higher self-esteem. Kim and her helpers take the opportunity, when appropriate, to mention the importance of education. Also, the number of students who come to the Clothes Closet has greatly increased. Kim says “When I first opened the Clothes Closet, we were servicing 1-4 students a week, and now it’s gotten up to 10-15 a week.” The students who come to the Clothes Closet benefit so much from the love and care that Kim, Cara, and Quinn show the students. Truly, the Clothes Closet has provided a lifeline for some.


But, keeping this program going is not easy. Kim started funding the Clothes Closet with personal donations and the Nevada County Rotary South helped Kim write a grant that they matched. At the start of the Clothes Closet, not many students knew they could come here to get help but, “As the need got greater and greater, I couldn’t keep up with the demand so I started seeking more funding” (Kim Carnahan). So, Kim approached NU Connection, which is a committee on campus that consists of parents, staff, and other members of our community. NU Connection is funded by the NU Script program, which is dwindling. NU Connection provided Kim and the Clothes Closet with consistent funding. Also, for the last 2 years, the Clothes Closet has been funded monthly by Mimi Simmons (who is one of the top real estate agents in town) and her assistant Holli Navo. Kim and her colleagues are very thankful for Mimi’s donations. Kim also receives some personal donations. But as the visitors to the Clothes Closet increase, so does the need for funding. So please consider donating to the Clothes Closet to help the students in need at Nevada Union. Kim is forever grateful for the care and concern of the community and their generous donations.


Kim, Cara, Quinn, and everyone else involved in the Clothes Closet have provided so much for the students in need at NU. They’ve done such a great job fitting the needs of the students and showing that they care. They’ve built up the students’ confidence and taught them to do their best in school. Kim would like to especially thank Mimi Simmons and everyone else who has contributed to the Clothes Closet. Yet, there is always a need for funding, so if you’d like to donate and be a part of this fabulous program that can continue helping students in need, then consider writing a check to NU Connection and mailing it to Nevada Union High School (@NU Connection). If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Clothes Closet please contact Kim Carnahan ((530) 305-6855).