Hometown Hero | Emma Shamblin

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:13 PM EST
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GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - This week’s WSAZ Hometown Hero is a senior in high school who opened her own clothing store. When you hear that, you would probably call her a young entrepreneur.

However, her shop isn’t in a storefront. Instead, it’s in South Gallia High School and she doesn’t make any profits. Emma Shamblin says the payoff from her work is knowing she is helping others.

Shamblin started the free clothing shop, The Hanger, at her school as part of the Leader in Me organization.

She says the group first came up with the idea to start a wellness club, providing free hygienic items to students by distributing them in the bathrooms and locker rooms.

She said once they saw those were being used, the group decided to take things a step further by coming up with the free clothing shop.

“We just saw that there was a need with the students and we decided that we were gonna meet that need,” Shamblin said.

However, Shamblin says she doesn’t do it all alone. About 20 students help with the project, and the community helped it get going.

“It started with just messaging my friends and seeing if they had some clothes that they wanted to donate,” Shamblin said. “Then I posted to Facebook, actually, and just reached out to the community who’s been such an awesome help. They really poured their heart and soul into donating into this and to create this.”

The shop offers clothing items, accessories, backpacks, school supplies and hygienic items, among other essentials students might need.

“That shouldn’t be something that they have to worry about every single day. ‘Are my clothes gonna be clean for school? Is someone going to make fun of me?’ We didn’t want that to be an issue,” Shamblin said.

Shamblin’s teacher, Carey Roberts, says the fact she took the initiative on a project like this doesn’t surprise her at all.

“She’s just got such a big heart and she’s a, she’s a hard worker,” Roberts said. “If she sees a need, she’s going to fill that need. She doesn’t wait for someone else to come in and do that work. She leads by example.”

Roberts says she has seen how this program has helped students firsthand.

“I saw a teacher bring in a student whose house had burnt and their family needed things,” Roberts said. “So, I see the benefit in what she’s doing for, for our community and our, our kids here at school and I’m glad to be a part of it. I’m thankful to be a part of it.”

Shamblin says most of the other students that help with the project are underclassmen that will continue to keep the project going after she graduates.

She says other schools have also reached out to her that are interested in starting similar programs.

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