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Clothing sale benefits students, Cincinnati community center

By Sarah Carey
On April 24, 2009

  • Students collect items Thursday for Miami's first Rag-A-Muffin clothing sale. Half of the profits go back to contributing students.

When a group of Miami University students started brainstorming ideas for a group project in their Entrepreneurship 201 class, they had a few plans in mind such as selling T-shirts or other items around campus.

However, when senior Julia Richardson found out the Peaslee Neighborhood Center in Cincinnati, where she volunteered last year, was at risk of shutting down due to the economic recession, she decided to integrate her group project with her passion for the center.

Richardson along with senior Brittany Phillips, junior Kevin Sakofs, and sophomores Sean Rolland and Leif Skillrud are hosting Miami's first "Rag-A-Muffin" clothing sale.

This clothing sale is not like typical sales efforts on campus. These five students are collecting items of clothing from students at Miami for resale, offering 50 percent of the profit back to the contributing students.

The rest of the money will go straight to the Peaslee Neighborhood Center. Students will, however, have the option toturn down the 50 percent profit and donate all proceeds to the center.

The sale has been taking place all week during the day on the west patio of the Shriver Center. The sale will continue from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Uptown Park.

Students can either contact the students through their Rag-A-Muffin event page, or simply bring their unwanted clothes to one of the location times.

"If the clothing doesn't sell, we will either give it back to the students, or offer to donate it to Goodwill," Richardson said.

Richardson said their entrepreneurship professor invested $20 into the project, which is their only expense for the sale. Phillips and Richardson are both graduating seniors, but if the sale is successful, they hope it will become an annual event.

"We really wanted to do something to benefit the Peaslee Neighborhood Center and at the same time get Miami involved, as the center is losing money and is such a great organization," Phillips said.

Bonnie Neumeier is the founder of the Peaslee Neighborhood Center - a grass roots organization that opened 25 years ago. She struggled to raise enough money to buy the former public school building for the center, but she took it over in December 1984.

The center now serves an Over-the-Rhine neighborhood - a poverty stricken community just north of downtown Cincinnati.

"We are committed to educational programs seeking to empower the neighborhood with classes like 'step out of oppression with expression' that teach art and music," Neumeier said.

The center also provides a day care service and a space for neighborhood members to meet on issues about affordable housing and saving school programs. The center is currently hosting a "Save Rosenberg Project," a program aimed to keep a neighborhood school from closing.

During the current economic recession, the center has seen a drastic cutback in annual grants and donations, which is why they are at risk of shutting down.

"We are very excited about the various fundraisers dedicated to our center because we need all the attention and support we can get to stay open for 25 more years," Neumeier said.

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