High school girls surprised with new coats

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Christmas Angel Girlfriends paid a visit to Laurel High School, Bladensburg High School and Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Prince George’s County to deliver 45 new coats to young ladies in need on December 16, 2015. An Annual New Classy Coat Drive was created by Barbara Holt Streeter (MrsPRPRotocol)— a highly experienced public relations and etiquette expert who provides professional services and training to individuals, businesses and faith-based organizations. This year marked the second new coat drive.

“Today, you get a new coat, you get a new coat, you get a new coat and yoooou get a new coat!” Streeter cheerfully informed students at Charles Herbert Flowers High School, while explaining to students who initially were unaware they were about to be surprised.

Streeter, who is a well-respected business and community leader, lives in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She says that her mother taught her to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. The philanthropist remains guided by the messages that were provided in her youth. Streeter’s heartwarming holiday idea started when she noticed girls without coats walking to school. And now, giving new coats away from a rolling coat rack that is wheeled into schools has become a Christmas tradition for Streeter and her “girlfriends.”

“I was doing some errands every day, driving past Largo Senior High [School] on [Route] 202, and I just kept noticing these girls shivering and just walking across the street with no coat. And I said, ‘Okay, there must be a problem here. Either they’re just fashionable, and just don’t want to wear a coat, or do they really not have a coat?’”

After reaching out to her county council person, Streeter began contacting high schools directly and connected her mission to give to her annual Girlfriend’s Gratitude Tea that she launched in 2012, after one of her girlfriends was killed in a car accident. Also known as “the Girlfriend CEO,” women attend Streeter’s summer tea or winter tea in the D.C. area. During both events, registered attendees reconnect with their girlfriends and meet new ones. They are also invited to show gratitude and support a community initiative to give back to others.

“Every tea, we decided on a group that we want to give to,” Streeter said to students. “In the winter we do an annual coat drive. This is the second annual coat drive, and we decided to give back to high school girls and give them new coats.”

A portion of the proceeds from a recent tea event attended by approximately 140 women helped to buy new coats this year. Volunteers who lend support to Streeter are comprised of women in the Girlfriend’s Gratitude Tea circle. They have been getting together through Streeter’s teas for nearly three years.

“We’ve given back to entrepreneur programs, breast cancer awareness, health awareness, but what is true to my heart are girls, young girls, to help build their self-esteem, and to help keep them warm, so that’s how we started it,” Streeter said.

The cheerful giver recently turned 50 years old and is proud to share her milestone with the world. Streeter shows no signs of slowing down. Along with her “Girlfriends,” she wants to reach every high school in Prince George’s County to expand the new coat program within five years, although Streeter predicts that the goal can be accomplished sooner.

After girls at Streeter’s last stop tried on new coats, some smiled and hugged her a second time. People like Streeter, her “girlfriends” and sponsors can remind others that not everyone has forgotten what the holiday season is truly about.

“Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. It means so much that someone is willing to step outside of their family to help with somebody else that they don’t even know,” counseling department chair at Charles Herbert Flowers High School, Heidi King said. “It takes a community to come together to do something… and so from the bottom of my heart, and from the Jaguars at Charles Herbert Flowers High School, thank you.”