UMSL social work student Jessica Lake has re-established UMSL's Back-to-School Uniform Drive for the Normandy (Mo.) School District.

University of Missouri–St. Louis student Jessica Lake has always wanted to inspire change. She’s pursuing a degree in social work because of that desire, and her latest project is no different.

Lake, a graduate student in social work, has re-established UMSL’s Back-to-School Uniform Drive for the Normandy (Mo.) School District. After she became involved with the 24:1 Initiative, which focuses on the 24 inner-ring suburban communities located within the boundaries of the Normandy School District, she looked for more ways to stay involved in the community.

Through her participation with 24:1, she learned about the need within the school district for uniforms and other items. Bringing back the UMSL uniform drive was perfect.

“They have resource rooms where students can come get uniforms or personal items if they need them,” she said. “But there is such a need that they end up running out of supplies for students before all the need can be met.”

Lake wanted to help. She enlisted the support of her fellow students, set up a collection site in Bellerieve Hall on the South Campus at UMSL and also a collection site at the Beyond Housing offices in St. Louis.

“I think it’s about leading by example,” she said. “If you put a little effort into something, it keeps growing. I want to inspire change, and help others to do the same and to achieve to the best of their ability.”

And inspiring change is something she might be achieving as her first collection totals include 111 pairs of pants, 65 shirts, 170 other uniform items and more than 250 personal care items.

Additional officials from the Farmington (Mo.) R-7 School District heard about the drive and contacted Lake.

“They are changing their uniforms at the end of the year and want to donate them to Normandy School District, which is amazing,” she said.

The collection site in the student longue at Bellerieve Hall will remain open throughout the year. Donations of pants, shirts, skirts, sweaters and personal items such as shampoo, deodorant and lotions are being accepted. Pants should be navy blue, black or khaki and tops should be white, navy or powder blue.

Email Jessica Lake at for additional information.

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton