Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Empowerment Plan


     I learned about this idea about a year ago, I guess, and it was a revolutionary project just having gotten off the ground.  Today, it has become a 'name' in its own right and has affected lives in ways I don't believe its creator even intended.

     This non-profit was created by a Detroit student to address the homeless problem in her area.  It's a coat, that is also a sleeping bag.  Simple idea; Enormous impact!

     I don't know if you know this Riley, but my family has been homeless a few times.  After having lost an apartment, we stayed in a motel room for a few weeks.  Once we snuck into a church and stayed in an empty room.  Another time we stayed at a campground until a friend stepped up and offered us their basement so we could get our feet under us again.  (Did you know that you need an address in order to fill out a job application?  Being without an address can be crippling).  And one time, our resources were gone and we asked Grammy if Christian could stay with her (which of course he could) and Steve and I walked around Quakertown that day not knowing what we were going to do for our own safety that night.  
  Having a safe place for Christian was the most important part and we were lucky that we had loved ones in the area because when you find yourself having lost everything, you can't travel to where it's convienient.  The car has been taken or the bus dropped you off as far as you could afford to go.  It's a circumstance that is more frightening than someone who hasn't experienced it can describe.  You have to find places to not just sleep but bathe, stay
hidden enough to feel safe from not just danger but law enforcement, and figure out how to make your tomorrow better than your today with having less than you did yesterday.

     Homelessness doesn't just take away a feeling of security, but your dignity as well.  'Empowered' is the opposite of how you feel, which is what this girl must have understood  when she was formulating this company.  She not only was successful in creating the EMPWR coat but has built a company that employs homeless women in the construction of the coats and has even crossed over into Canada with her life changing idea
Check out the site   www.empowermentplan.org to see the amazing impact this company has made since their beginning 4 years ago!  You can even use the site to donate ;)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Independence Day Clothing


     Fashion has come a long way from simple function to seriously personal.  'You are what you wear' is taken as an assumption anymore and we often immediately categorize people at a quick glance. This is just another stumbling block for someone with a cognitive or physical impairment.  So often there are limitations with range of motion, difficulty with gross and fine motor skills and sensitivities to commonly used accents such as lace and beads, that blending in with a crowd takes a back burner to comfort and function.  That's completely understandable but, thanks to mother, Lauren Thierry, no longer a necessary sacrifice.

     Thierry's personal goal was to give her son the independence of being able to dress himself, despite the challenges of his autism.  What she created has opened doors for many others to experience the same freedom and so much more.

Let's look at it this way:
This clothing line defeats the challenge of......

Putting a piece of clothing on inside out or backwards....BY....creating each piece with no back or front, and functionally reversible.

Sensitivity to accents and fabrics....BY....eliminating lace, tags, etc...and using only smooth soft fabrics.

Difficulty with fine motor skills....BY....eliminating the need for buttons, snaps and zippers.

Many outfit choices also have a pocket for GPS devices as a comfort to caregivers of both children and adults who may have a history of wandering off on their own.

So much is taken for granted when you are healthy, strong and independent.  It's experiences like Lauren's that help us see where we may be failing as individuals in our perspectives of others and what creators of fashion lines can learn about the the broader range of the power of their creations.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

1,000 Dresses!!!!

  We all know the story of Cinderella and the beautiful gowns at the ball.  They sparkle, dazzle and woo the crowd in the enchanting way that beautiful things enchant.  The life of the party, it truly is Cinderella's DRESS that captures everyone's attention and admiration....for that one night, cause let's face it,  even if it hadn't turned back into a pumpkin or whatever, she never would've worn it again.  It had been seen and enjoyed and it was memorable so ....it had to go.  Into the closet or the hope chest, the remaining days of that beautiful garment were subject to a stuffy bag, moth balls or even worse,  the occasional fleeting glimpse of itself in a mirror, when Cindee tried to recapture her glory days of youth and romance momentarily displacing her middle aged thoughts of stretch marks and the ridiculous mortgage rates on castles nowadays!
      But what if it didn't have to die?  Not the glory days, of course.  Those are long gone.  But, the beauty; the dress that made it all so magical.  What if it could dance and enchant again?  

     The 1,000 Dresses campaign is designed for just that purpose!   Building up its closets with entirely gifted formals ( and informals, if you're really a dress person) this cache of beautiful items are available for all to enjoy and display for their own special occasion.  
Gifting your dress to the campaign will earn you credits, when the closet is finally full and ready to display it's treasures, to exchange for a dress you could use at your next dance, party or, let's face it, wedding! And with the goal of adding more accessories to the wardrobe after the campaign is off and running, you'll be able to balance out your look with that dyed clutch from prom that Kimmie donated that completely go with the shoes Shari showcased at her brother's grad party.

     So Riley, this is my introduction to this new campaign which, obviously, doubles as the first blog post for this month.  If it strikes your interest check it out at Causes.com to add your name to the list of supporters.  And anyone else reading this, you check it out too!!!  This is a fun idea that makes a one time splurge go much farther.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Starting Smartly with charitynavigator.org

Spontaneity shouldn't be spurned in connection to giving but that doesn't mean that blindly throwing your money at a cause is helping anyone either.  Although this site addresses charities that generally have a larger reputation and reach than the smaller, local needs you may personally encounter, the tools utilized here are a nice introduction to what you may want to consider when choosing to help any group or individual.

Okay, that's good and responsible.  Now, check out the variety of causes out there!!  Giving is never just about who's getting your money but equally about your personal choice.  Who are you, Riley?  What is important to you?  Do you prefer Chance to choose a need that crosses your path throughout the month?  Do you feel more comfortable within the confines of well known and proven causes?  Do you want your giving to give back to you as well (handcrafted goods, your own college campus fundraisers, a friend's troop cookie drive (fyi..my favs are Samoas.  Just sayin').  This is all about you.......and anyone/everyone else YOU choose to involve.

Have fun!