OAKLAND -- Oakland hills teenager Laura Graham had an idea for a charity in 2010 -- 1 Closet.

Within months, she created a logo, her mother put a website together while donations of teen clothing began arriving on her door.

Graham's concept is simple -- teens helping teens by donating gently used and new teen clothing. She quickly discovered her teen charity would help fill a deep void in donations.

Graham and her charity have been recognized as one of the largest clothing suppliers for foster and shelter teens throughout the East Bay, exceeding 25,000 garments donated. During a recent donation delivery to Contra Costa Child Family Services, she learned from specialist Pat Ensley about the impact her donations have made.

"Laura and 1 Closet fill our clothing closet for so many," Ensley said. "Without her, we would have almost nothing."

Although recognized by the state Assembly and the U.S. Congress in addition to receiving the Jefferson Award, Graham remains modest about what she has done.

Graham has partnered with 16 high schools, and each school holds teen clothing drives with several schools holding two drives a year, pushing donations further, which allows her to help shelters in San Francisco and Santa Rosa.

With multiple agencies now dependent on 1 Closet donations, Graham believed she could not suspend her charity so she interviewed candidates to pick a successor.


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Riley Glasson, a senior at San Ramon Valley High School, becomes director when Graham leaves for college this fall.

In one of her last acts as the leader of 1 Closet, Graham will clothe a once-homeless Hayward teen who received a scholarship to Brown University. Graham will deliver the student a coat and other much needed clothing.

Since Graham's interview in the July issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, people from across the country have been sending donations to help teens in need. In addition, several people have expressed interest in creating a chapter of 1 Closet in their community.

-- Sue Graham

FYI
For more information, go to: www.1-closet.com.