NATCHITOCHES – Male students at Northwestern State University who need professional attire now have access to a professional clothing bank. Ramona Wynder, coordinator for the Call Me Mister program, is organizing the closet to help young professionals dress for success as they step from the classroom into their careers.
Call Me Mister is an initiative to recruit African American males to become teachers and mentors at low-performing schools. Misters benefit from financial assistance to help cover tuition and fees, instructional support and preparation for licensure exams, a cohort system for social and cultural support and leadership development. Wynder began the clothes bank with Call Me Mister students in mind, but said the bank is not limited to students in that program.
“The clothes bank is open to any young man on campus who needs professional attire for residencies, job interviews or professional settings,” Wynder said. Through the Freeport McMoRan Endowed Professorship she was able to purchase racks for the clothing that is housed in the Teacher Education Center.
This week, the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A+PEL) presented a grant of $500 to support the clothes bank. A+PEL is a educators’ organization in Louisiana that focuses on professional development, teacher advocacy and excellence in education.
Wynder said donations of new or gently used suits, dress shirts, jackets, slacks, belts and ties are also welcome, as are offers of dry cleaning.
“We want to make sure when our Misters are going into schools they have appropriate attire so they are respected by the students,” Wynder said. “Misters are education leaders. I see them going on to be principals and superintendents. I tell them to dress for two steps above their current job position.”
William Roberson of Natchitoches is a 2019 graduate of Natchitoches Central and part of the first cohort of students in the Call Me Mister program. He is majoring in health and physical education. He said his experience with the program has been excellent.
“I’ve always had a love for teaching,” he said. “My father professes from the pulpit and my mother teaches as well. I have no doubt I’ll be prepared for the classroom.”
To donate clothing, funds or dry cleaning services to the clothes bank contact Wynder at firstname.lastname@example.org or (318) 357-4549.
Information on Call Me Mister is available at https://education.nsula.edu/callmemister/.