Athens State Student Serves Community Through Bonner Leader Program

Gathering Hope Foster Closet

Magan Westbrook, an education major at Athens State University, serves her local community through the Bonner Leader Program (BLP). The BLP is a nationally recognized fellowship program that gives students the opportunity to attend college, while simultaneously engaging their talents and education in building and supporting their local communities. Through this program, the students are selected and paired with a non-profit, or community learning partner, to complete service hours. Westbrook is a member of the Bonner program and is partnered with Gathering Hope Foster Closet, located in Fyffe, Alabama.

Gathering Hope Foster Closet provides an array of items completely free of charge to children in foster care, adopted from foster care, or in kinship guardianship. Items provided include, but are not limited to, clothing, shoes, hygiene products, baby items, formula, and school supplies. The space is set up like a retail store, where the children or guardians can come in and have a full shopping experience, except what they choose is free! This closet serves Dekalb County and its surrounding areas.

Westbrook’s service to the non-profit organization includes helping receive donations from the community, assisting in finding the needs for the children, helping with the social media, and fundraising. In December, she organized a Christmas event that helped over 60 foster children get presents for the holiday. More recently, she is working with other Athens State students to help build the non-profit a website and has helped organize a volunteer experience at the store for students at a local high school. For more information on Gathering Hope Foster Closet, you can visit their Facebook page.

For more information about the BLP at Athens State, visit

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