KAI Collections Supports Some Brave African Girls

10 08 2009

When I was in high school, I did a research paper on the horrors of Female Genital Mutilation. Young African girls (as young as 9) are sometimes subjected to the act as a right of passage. The gruesome act not only inflicts pain on the girls at that momemt, but as they grow up, there are often many complications and infections from the procedure. Jessica Censotti, a Chicago artist, is using her artwork to raise awareness and support young girls who stand up against FGM. In addition to great sculptures and vessels, Censotti also features dazzling earrings from the KAI Collections at her shows and on her website.

Red Feather Earrings, $65

Red Feather Earrings, $65

The jewelry is handcrafted by the Maasai women in Kenya and 100% of the proceeds will go to build a home for girls who’ve refused Female Genital Mutilation. To learn more about the school and the Mwavido organization by visiting www.mwavido.com. I’ve picked out my three favorite designs but all of them are beautiful!

Lavender and Green Earrings, $65

Lavender and Green Earrings, $65

Tear Drop Earrings with Turquoise Stones, $55

Tear Drop Earrings with Turquoise, $55


Thanks to Three Peas Art for the info!

It’s All About the Glam

4 08 2009

The Boys and Girls Club of Chicago (BGCC) serves over 13,000 children and teens across the city of Chicago in after-school programs and summer camps. Children and parents have access to 32 clubs across the city. Organizations like these are so important because children need safe play havens to learn, socialize, and just be young!

On Friday, August 7th, the Good Glam Gala will combine fashion, shopping and philanthropy as the event raised money for the BGCC. Attendess will watch a live fashion show featuring the designs of Kate Boggiano and Objets d’Envy jewelry. The glamorous event, held at a stylish Pilsen warehouse (2150 S. Canal), will kickoff at 7p. Tickets are $50, and can be purchased at www.goodglamgala.com.


DC: Swap It Out!

3 07 2009

We all have something in our closets that we should consider giving away. You know which item that I’m talking about! If you’re in DC, then consider bringing your stash to Fashion Fights Poverty‘s ReUse: 2009 Fashion Swap. This event will give you the chance to do one of the following:

Consign Your Former Favorites w/Current Boutique
Swap for “New to You” Fashions
Donate Directly to Covenant House Washington

The fashion swap will take place on Sat, 7/18, at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel (1127 Connecticut Ave NW) from 12-5p. For entry, all guests must bring an item of clothing/accessories or a pair of shoes. To attend, please RSVP to rsvp@fashionfightspoverty.org.


Lead A Job Training Workshop

30 06 2009

In keeping right along with my “Summer of Service” theme, here’s an opportunity to help prepare teenagers and young adults for career opportunities. Jobs for Youth is a Chicago nonprofit that provides workshops and development opportunities at no cost to participants.

This summer, JFY has plenty of opportunities for volunteers to assist students with mock interviews and one-on-one workshops, such as Resume Writing. Volunteers can get trained to teach classroom workshops on networking and internet job hunting. Most of the workshops take place between 11:15-1:30p during the week, so you can squeeze a session in on your lunch break!

You can view the calendar of opportunities here. If you’re interested in participating, email Emily Drake, Volunteer Services Coordinator (edrake@jfychicago.org).


Giving Dallas Youth An Artistic Edge

10 06 2009

We all know that public schools are underfunded, and usually the arts programs are the first to go. Instead of letting that just be the status quo, CJ Johnson decided to do something and she started Fashion Benefiting Youth Artists, a Dallas nonprofit that hosts fashion-themed events in order to support students who dream of studying the arts, either in high school or college.

After interviewing CJ, I have to say that my inspiration has been renewed. Not only does she have a great vision, but she also has some words of encouragement for those of you looking to bring a little change to the world.

1. How did you decide to start FBYA?

I decided to start FBYA when I was laid off as a teacher from the Dallas School District in October 2008. I was a history teacher in one of the roughest and most challenged high schools with a very low socio-economic status. However, I had many talented students that were illustrators, musicians and some that dreamed of acting. However, the high school had no drama department, the art department did not have canvasses or acrylic paint and there were no other music enrichment classes besides band and choir. These kids were working with just their raw talent and I thought it was pathetic that there were not more enrichment classes offered at this school.

So, when my time with DISD came to an end, I thought about my love for fashion, the arts and youth. I decided to create a non-profit organization that would provide advanced art supplies to under-served Dallas high schools, sponsor young artists to attend out-of-state summer enrichment programs, and award college scholarships to young artists who desired to pursue a college degree in the arts.


2. What’s been the response so far?

The response so far has been overwhelming. With our first fashion show, I was able to secure an amazing venue for free, and all others involved (make-up artists, hair-stylists, DJ, a rock band) volunteered their services for free. We even received a mention in D Magazine and several other arts and lifestyle related publications. We have selected our first two students to receive sponsorship to a summer dance enrichment camp and are awarding a college scholarship to a graduating senior. Now, we are working on a college job fair for creative industries at at local college here in Dallas in late July.

Backstage at Spring 2009 Fashion Show

Backstage at Spring 2009 Fashion Show

3. What’s the best lesson that you’ve learned so far working with the youth, partners, etc?

The best lesson that I have learned so far working with inner-city youth is that they are more resilient and talented than people would give them credit for. They will never cease to amaze you. Throughout this process, what I have discovered thus far about people in general is that more people are willing to donate their time, services and energy for philanthropy than I previously thought…if you just simply ask.

4. Any words of wisdom to someone who wants to step out and change the world (in their own way)?

To anyone who is inspired to do something philanthropic or to be a social entrepreneur, I would tell them to make sure that it is something that you’re passionate about. You can start small (like a clothes drive at your job) but do not hesitate to dream of starting off big. I did! Just don’t hesitate or have self-doubt. Just do it! Believe me. There is a segment of the population that can benefit from your dream! Be a leader and crusader for those who can not and you will be rewarded mentally!

CJ, I appreciate your time! Ladies and gents, check out Fashion Benefiting Youth Artists online at www.fbya.org and FByouthartists.blogspot.com!


DC Event: Capital Catwalk

4 06 2009


This Friday June 5th, the 5th Annual Capital Catwalk Salon with Byron Lars will take place in Washington, D.C. The event, presented by Simone’s Butterfly, is a fundraiser for the Washington High Tea Society. The High Tea Society (HTS) was founded in 1997 by the Honorable Judge Mary Terrell and uses “afternoon tea” as a vehicle to teach girls that success in the 21st century requires certain life skills, not just street skills. “Exposure,” Judge Terrell says is, “the key that allows a person to feel comfortable not only in their house but in the White House.”

Tickets for the event start at $100 for general admission and $150 for VIP pricing. The Capital Catwalk will be held at the historic Omni Shoreham Hotel (2500 Calvert Street NW, D.C.) and starts at 7p. To purchase tickets and learn more about the event, visit www.capitalcatwalk.com.


Thanks, Johnica, for the information!

Lots of Chicago Events This Thursday!

23 03 2009

Okay…I was looking at my iCal today and noticed that Thursday, the 26th is about to be a CRAZY night for Chicagoans. Literally. I don’t want to take up anymore space, so I’m just going to list them out for your reading pleasure!


TheChiGuide.com Launch Party (9p-12a) – Landmark (1633 N. Halsted)

TheChiGuide spotlights Chicago’s best events in music, dining, nightlife, arts & culture, sports, and everything in between. This red carpet launch will benefit Imerman Angels, a Chicago-based non-profit supporting cancer fighters, survivors, and caregivers. Tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door.

Who Gives A Shot (8-10p) – Angels and Kings (710 N. Clark)

Guest bartenders will be serving up $5 specialty cocktails to benefit Rock for Kids, a nonprofit providing free year-round music education for children in need. 100% of drink sales and tips will benefit Rock for Kids and Chicago’s own Flosstradamus will not perform on the 1s and 2s to keep the party going!


March Madness…!

March Madness with the Les Turner Young ProfessionALS (6p) – McFadden’s (1206 N. State)

Come and watch the NCAA games and enjoy drink specials and a silent auction to benefit the Les Turner ALS Foundation. Keith Van Horne (from the shufflin’ 1985 Bears championship crew) will be guest bartending as well! A $10 donation earns you a wristband and access to alllll of the shenanigans. 

RedHot March Madness 2009 (6-8p) – Rockit Bar and Grill (22 W. Hubbard)

This hot tourney event benefits the Primo Center for Women and Children. Guests will enjoy an open bar and hors d’oeuvres at the event, co-hosted by Chicago Bears’ Jason McKie. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by clicking here.

Hoops for Youth (6-9p) – Rebel Bar & Grill (3462 N. Clark)

What better way to support the dreams and future of Chicago children than by hanging out with friends and having some tourney time? This watch party benefits Youth Guidance, is one of Chicago’s oldest and most established social service agencies dedicated to providing academic and youth-development programs to at-risk, Chicago public school students. The $30 tickets include a 3-hour open bar, and can be purchased by clicking here.



Whew! Yesterday, I told you guys that the spring was ushering in busy season 🙂 If there’s anyone out there, who attends all four of these events on Thursday, I will buy you two drinks at your favorite bar. Seriously! Email me if you’re up for the challenge!!!


P.S. Don’t forget that all the events listed above will be happening this Thursday, March 26th!