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Palco teen offers helping hand to Big Brothers Big Sisters

8/6/2012

By RANDY GONZALES

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Maddy McClellan loves to shop.

"Yeah, I really do," she said with a giggle. "Probably a little bit too much."

On Thursday at The Mall, 2918 Vine, seven girls from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County will get to shop for school clothes for free, thanks to McClellan, 16, who will be a junior this fall at Palco High School.

Since Christmas, McClellan has had fundraisers and wrote a grant to give the BBBS girls selected by the organization a chance to experience the fun she has with fashion -- and help out with new school clothes.

"It's just amazing," said Nancy Jeter, executive director of Hays' BBBS. "We don't have any funding to provide anything like this. It's just a blessing to our program."

McClellan's mother, Tammy McClellan, owns Simply Charmed, 1011 Main. One time on a buying trip in Dallas, Maddy ran into a girl who was doing something similar, and it sparked an idea for her to do the same.

"It's kind of neat to see her do something that's not focused on herself, it's about doing something for someone else," Tammy McClellan said. "I think it's just a unique experience, puts herself in someone else's shoes a little bit, which is always a blessing."

Maddy, who would like to do this again, has dubbed her project "For Keeps."

"It's brand new, and you get to keep it forever," she said of the reason behind the name. "It's yours, no strings attached."

Maddy wrote a grant for $400 from Heartland Community Foundation. That, along with her fundraisers, was enough for $160 each for the seven girls. The Mall added $20 per person, so each girl will receive a gift card for $180 to shop with Thursday.

"It was not hard, because people of Hays have been really interested in the program, and been very giving," Maddy said of raising the money. "They've been really great."

Before they go shopping Thursday, Maddy will meet the girls for the first time while they receive a free meal, courtesy of Montana Mike's Steakhouse, 3216 Vine.

Then, they will shop until they drop. Maddy is anxious to see what clothes the girls pick out.

"That's probably the main thing I've been shooting toward, what clothes they find," she said.

* To donate toward the project, call Big Brothers Big Sisters at (785) 625-5734.