TROY — Troy High School senior Nathan Kleptz saw a need in his school for those who may, for whatever reason or circumstance, need a helping hand.
Kleptz has started “The Trojan Closet,” which will provide students in need with a wide variety of basic daily items from toothbrushes and toothpaste to new notebooks and writing utensils.
Kleptz said he saw other school districts adding similar programs to schools. “Caring closets” are popping up in schools all over the nation to help financially struggling students have access to supplies and other simple necessities.
Kleptz said he was inspired to find a new way to help in the community after completing Teen Leadership Troy, a week-long community leadership program. On the first day, Kleptz and students visited a familiar organization, The Troy Foundation, where his mother Melissa Kleptz serves as executive director. Teen Leadership Troy students participate in the Project Gift grant program where the teens are allotted a set amount of grant money and must determine which organizations will benefit and which ones may not even though their efforts are just as worthy.
“It was great when the organizations came to thank us,” said Kleptz, also the son of Tom Kleptz of Troy. “It was in that moment, I thought ‘this is what I want to do.’”
Kleptz said he sees the struggles youth have in his school and community through both volunteer work and employment at the Lincoln Community Center. Kleptz shared how he helps with the community garden, referees basketball games and assists wherever the youth and community organization needs a helping hand.
The Trojan Closet program is simple. A metal cabinet located in the student services office will be open to those who may be in need of school supplies or hygiene items throughout the school year.
“If it helps 10 kids, it will be worth it,” Kleptz said on Tuesday. The “Trojan Closet” has been adopted by the high school’s Interact Club to keep the cabinet stocked well after Kleptz graduates in May.
The project was awarded a donation of $1,433 by the Oskar and Charlotte Buschmann Fund. It also received a donation from the Miami County Dental Clinic of toothbrushes and toothpaste and from Brower’s Stationary office supply business, which donated $250 to stock the cabinet with school supplies.
Kleptz said the funds will first purchase organizing materials for the cabinet and then the remainder will go towards stocking it with items. Kleptz also said the Interact Club plans to hold a student-led drive for hygiene items in the coming weeks.
Although he hasn’t made his college choice yet, Kleptz shared that his post-graduation plans include majoring in finance and non-profit management.
“I want to help a lot of people,” he said.