Second Shift holds Swag the Bag event for homeless youth
Published 2:37 pm Monday, November 7, 2022
By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer
PELHAM – Dresses with a trash bag theme lined the walls of Destined Events in Pelham to raise funds for homeless youth as Second Shift held its third Swag the Bag event on Friday, Nov 4.
The Swag the Bag event allowed interested parties to put fashion entries on display that involved a trash bag. Founder and Executive Director Tammy Spence explained the importance of incorporating trash bags into the fashion entries.
“Swag the Bag recreates the iconic trash bag ‘luggage’ of foster care into something fun and fabulous,” Spence said. “By turning trash bags into art and fashion, we want to send the message to youth in care and to the community that no one is disposable. There is unseen value and potential in each child in care.”
Spence reiterated the importance of recognizing those who are aging out of the foster care system and how it can lead to homelessness.
“The foster care to homelessness pipeline is a straight shot,” Spence said. “Approximately 65 percent of older traditional-aged youth who leave foster care do so without identified housing, becoming immediately homeless.”
Spence said she is happy with how the event turned out and how the event was able to be held in person this year.
“I think the event went beautifully,” Spence said. “We were all very happy with it. It was the event we had envisioned in 2020 before Covid, and it was a joyful triumph to finally see it happen.”
Spence said she is glad events like this bring awareness homeless youth and sheds light on the severity of the matter.
“Awareness events bring important issues to light,” Spence said. “Youth homelessness is a problem but it is not visible. S many people don’t know the severity and urgency of the issue. Bringing awareness to the community informs them of the problem and increases the help and support needed to fix the problem.”
Magician Brian Reeves was in attendance and performed magic acts for those in attendance as well as shared some inspirational words.
“Don’t allow something you think is a negative aspect of your life hold you back,” Reeves said. “There is not anything in your life that you can’t use or overcome when you truly believe in yourself. Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from what you can do.”
All proceeds from the Swag the Bag event went to youth who are aging out of the foster care system or have aged out of the foster care system.
“Youth homelessness is fixable,” Spence said. “But it takes all of us to fix it.”
More information about Second Shift and Swag the Bag can be found at Secondshiftalabama.org.