Jefferson City teachers go back-to-school swapping

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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City teachers and district staff got a chance to update their closets at the first district-wide closet swap Thursday.

Holly Watson began teaching in Jefferson City 22 years ago. The fifth grade teacher said she hoped to find some dressier tops at the exchange. She said educators need a diverse closet to keep up with their work. "Especially with elementary school," she said. "You get down on the floor, on their level, but you also need dressier clothes for parent-teacher conferences and back-to-school nights."

The clothing was free and any remaining items will be donated to local charities.

"I have two teenage boys that I'm spending a lot of money on for hobbies, sports and education," Watson said as she thumbed through a table of shirts. 

Safety and Wellness Coordinator for the district Becky Pfenenger organized the event. She said she had the idea to host the event after exchanging clothes with friends. Pfenenger encouraged district employees to bring in their unwanted clothes and accessories to swap during the two-day event. 

"There's nothing better than looking through free clothes on a teacher's salary," Callaway Hills Reading Recovery teacher Amy Pulliam said. She suggested a stylist come in next year to help teachers learn how they can mix and match items.

The event is the first wellness event of the 2014-2015 school year for the JCPS Wellness Program. Teachers and staff can earn a $50 bonus for attending wellness events throughout the semester. Pfenenger said future events include a 5K run, a nutrition seminar and a team cardio challenge. She said she tries to tie the Jefferson City community into the wellness activities to build relationships with families without, or who no longer have, students in the local schools. 

"As a wellness coordinator, I try to think of ideas that incorporate more than fitness and nutrition," Pfenenger said. "There are so many componenets to wellness and I thought this would be a wonderful way and a great initiative to really get people more involved in wellness and realize it's just about feeling better about who you are."

The Closet Swap is open to all Jefferson City Public Schools employees and ends at noon Friday.