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Sylvia Blair features Rita's Closet in her latest Community Profile piece, originally written for her enewsletter, and reprinted with permission from the author.

Rita’s Closet is a Tribute to the Memory of a Young Daughter

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By Sylvia Blair

There are times in life when out of tragedy, something meaningful can take place. A tragedy struck the Medeiros family in Maryland in 2012. Their daughter, Rita Marie, passed away in a tragic car accident. She had her prom dress in the car when it happened. The dress was purchased on a Saturday and the accident happened on a Sunday night.

The owner of the bridal shop where the dress was purchased donated back the money the family had spent on the prom dress to start the Rita M. Medeiros Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund provides graduating seniors at public high schools in Carroll County, Md. with scholarships.

The family also started Rita’s Closet. They collect and sell donated dresses. There are two separate stores, one with formal wear and one with bridal wear, at the Town Mall in Westminster, Md. Rita’s Closet also collects and makes available various prom dresses and formal wear to needy young ladies in the community, thanks to generous charitable organizations.

“Our initial goal was to provide a scholarship in Rita’s memory,” said Tamara Medeiros, Rita’s mother. “We soon decided that our goal would be to offer a scholarship in every high school and at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center. We offer a $1,000 scholarship to each applicant that is chosen, based on the criteria specified.”

“We would like to continue to be known as a destination for our community to have access to formal wear,” she said.

The organization has sponsored a raffle, and a fashion show and tea, among other fundraising activities.

“We are always accepting donations of dresses that are both long and short,” said Tamara. “We also accept donations of wedding dresses and mother of the bride/groom formal wear.”

“Our most important need is volunteers,” said Tamara. The volunteer shifts are typically four hours. Rita’s Closet also provides opportunities for teens to earn service hours, since the organization is a 501(c)3.

Tamara said that several moms have volunteered with their teens, which has special meaning for them. A team of trained volunteers helps to make the store operations run smoothly.

The Rita M. Medeiros Scholarship Fund is a fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County (CFCC), which is a public foundation that is dedicated to strengthening the community by meeting the needs of donors and nonprofits alike.

Through CCFC’s management of charitable funds that are established by individuals, the foundation helps area nonprofit agencies live out their mission in the community through donors, grants, public support, and the vision and drive of partner nonprofits.

About Community Profiles

The Community Profile about Rita’s Closet, a Fund of the Community Foundation of Carroll County, is reprinted with permission from Sylvia Blair’s professional newsletter, which offers you great and useful tips, techniques, and up-to-the minute news about how to create the best written pieces for you or your business.

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Community Profile

There are times in life when out of tragedy, something meaningful can take place. A tragedy struck the Medeiros family in Maryland in 2012. Their daughter, Rita Marie, passed away in a tragic car accident. She had her prom dress in the car when it happened. The dress was purchased on a Saturday and the accident happened on a Sunday night.

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