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Dundalk social worker raising money to outfit students for graduation

Posted at 7:15 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 23:57:58-04

DUNDALK, Md. (WMAR) — A Dundalk High School social worker is working to make their 2019 graduates look their best and feel important on one of the biggest days of their lives.

John Flannery started a Paypal fundraiser and posted his plea on social media, looking for donations to be able to buy the students in need nice pants, shoes, shirts and dresses.

"We need help. Our kids have worked hard. They're graduates. For some of them, they are the first in their family to graduate and they need to know what it feels like to look and be important that day and a great outfit is going to do that for them," said Flannery. "When it comes to dress shoes, when they have limited resources, that's low on their list."

In 9 days, he has collected $1,360 but he's hoping to raise a lot more so he can help as many as 100 seniors. His former classmate Christopher Schafer, founder of Sharp Dressed Man in Baltimore, stepped in to dress most of the men, the first student getting his yesterday. His employee and volunteer with Sharp Dressed Man says being dressed properly can have a big impact on their attitudes as they start a new chapter in their lives.

"You need to have a suit for our graduation, especially from high school. You're done with that portion of your life and now you're ready to conquer the world," said Casey Rowe. "When I wake up and put on my suit and come to work, I'm ready to take on my day. I have a different attitude towards things."

Flannery is blown away by the support for far. He hopes to be able to help 100 students. He says monetary donations will be used to buy dresses, shoes and rent a bus to be able to bring down more students to Sharp Dressed Man.

"People generally want to do something good for their community and I'm finding that out. I didn't doubt people but now I have more faith," said Flannery.

Flannery says he will also take gently used dress donations and dress shoes. Graduation is June 5th but he's hoping to get the students squared away soon.