ELYRIA, Ohio - Eight-year-old Najia Boone was killed in an accidental shooting in 2009. Saturday afternoon, a resale clothing store will open in Elyria, to remember Najia and to educate youth on the dangers of firearms.
The store at 230 Second Street opens Saturday, but Wednesday evening Rhonda Washington was setting up for the grand opening.
“The most important thing to me is awareness, allowing our children to be aware of what guns do to you, there's too many lives being lost,” she said.
The rear of the store will be home to an after-school program. It will educate children on the dangers of firearms. Firearm safety, while not the only lesson to be taught, is important to Washington, Najia’s grandmother.
“If I save one child, I've done my job.”
Francine Williams will lead the after-school program, which will use space in the rear of the Reinventing Closet store in downtown Elyria.
“Because of this unfortunate accident, more children will be enlightened,” she said.
Proceeds from the store will fund the education program. They will gladly accept gently used clothing and monetary donations to aid in gun awareness and safety for children.
The store is open weekdays and Saturday noon to 6 p.m., the after-school program is open 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The store has fashions for men, women and children, as well as accessories such as shoes and handbags.
Near a ladder of shoes, a offering of gun locks. The locks are free in keeping with their message of safety.
Shortly after Najia’s death, Washington started the Najia Foundation to save others from the tragedy she and her family suffered.
“I’ve got to save these children,” she said adding what she teaches, “If you see a gun, don’t touch, run and tell an adult.”