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Threads for Teens

Threads for Teens

Sometimes an organization evolves slowly from idea to fruition.  Today’s organization went from inspiration to making a difference in a very short time and shows that anything is possible when you put your mind to something.

In January of 2010, Allyson Ahlstron read “Generation Change” by Zach Hunter, a book that detailed different service projects that teenagers had done across the country.  She immediately became inspired to do something within her own community.  Within weeks she had chosen the name Threads for Teens and a logo and started working on her idea to outfit ten deserving girls in two brand-new head-to-toe outfits.  It has since evolved into a clothing boutique that provides clothing to underprivileged girls in foster care, group homes, or extreme situations of poverty.

Threads for Teens is a clothing boutique located in Windsor, California and has a goal to help young, less fortunate girls build their self-esteem and confidence.  They work to accomplish this through gifts of clothing, support, and education.  The boutique is in a retail location and decorated to look like a real store, but it open by appointment only and everything is free.  Since their opening in August 2010, Threads for Teens has served over 250 girls by providing them with two brand new head-to-toe outfits.  Over $125,000 in clothing donations and over $55,000 in monetary contributions have been made to the organization to date.

Founder Allyson told me, “If we can just brighten the days and lives of a few girls, we can change it for all the disadvantaged girls by spreading the word thanks to modern day communications. We are the future leaders of the world; if we can give each other confidence, nothing can stop us. No mountain is too high, no forest is too thick, and no ocean is too vast from giving girls everywhere the opportunity to succeed.”

Allyson also shared the story of a girl named Brittany who was helped by Threads for Teens.  She was quiet but happy throughout her shopping experience in August of 2010.  About a year later, a social worker called to share that after shopping at the Threads for Teens boutique Brittany found the self-esteem to follow her lifelong dream of becoming a mechanic.

How can you help?

  • You can volunteer to organize clothing or facilitate shopping appointments in the boutique.
  • You can donate used formal dresses in excellent condition for prom season as well as new clothing for teens.
  • Threads for Teens also accepts monetary donations on their website.
  • You can also take a look at the website to nominate a teen girl that meets the organization’s criteria.
  • During the summer of 2013, Threads for Teens will be going on a national tour to outfit 1,000 girls in a brand-new outfit.  They are seeking some special help for this tour including clothing, publicity, hotel and flight sponsorships.  You can learn more and see their list of cities here.

You can learn more about Threads for Teens on their website, threadsforteens.org.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Related Posts: Wyman Center, Bridge for Youth, and Cinderella Project

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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Headbands of Hope

Hair is important to girls.  Before a recent haircut, my daughter told me she didn’t want hair a boy haircut.  When I was in high school, I had pretty short hair for a while.  My part time job at the time required me to wear a hat and I was called a boy more than once.  Today’s organization is helping girls who have lost their hair still feel girly and pretty.

Headbands of Hope is on a mission to spread hope in all girls, one headband at a time.  They are located in Charlotte, North Carolina and their headbands are manufactured in Bismarck, North Dakota.  The organization was founded by Jessica Ekstrom after she interned with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2011.  She met girls who lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatments and loved to wear girly headbands to still feel pretty and keep their feminine identity.  Wigs can be awkward and uncomfortable and hats are not that girly, so a headband is a great way to boost their spirits when they looked in the mirror.  You can read the touching wish story that inspired Jessica here

Headbands of Hope

Jessica is also an inspiration to girls because she started Headbands of Hope when she was just 20 years old.  She says, “Hopefully my story shows people that it’s never too early to follow your dreams.”  While she admits there are challenges to running an organization while also focusing on school and keeping a social life, she continues, “I wouldn’t have wanted to start it any other way.  I can say I’ve helped hundreds of girls and started a fashion trend that makes a difference, all before I get my [college] diploma.”

Headbands of Hope has a variety of headbands for girls and women on their website.  For each headband purchased, $1 is donated to the St Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.  In addition, headbands are donated to hospitals for girls undergoing treatment.  They work with St. Baldricks to select hospitals or take suggestions by e-mailing Jessica@headbandsofhope.org.  You can read one volunteer’s story of bringing headbands to a hospital here

In a recent interview on the Bellaspire Blog, a young headband recipient named Tori said, “I like headbands because my head is bald! It makes me look pretty and the headbands are soft and don’t hurt my head.”  Tori’s favorite headband is the one named after her, Totally Tori.

How can you help? 

  • Purchase headbands via their website or through a retail location.
  • If you are a retailer and would like to carry Headbands of Hope, you can contact Jessica at Jessica@headbandsofhope.org.
  • You can also spread the word about their mission on social media and sharing with friends. 
  • You can also find out more about becoming a Hope representative by contacting Jessica.

Learn more about Headbands of Hope on their website, headbandsofhope.org.  You can also connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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She’s the First

Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.  In developing world, 25% of girls are not in school.  Educated girls live longer lives because they are better informed to protect their health.  They will also earn higher wages and stimulate economic development because women tend to reinvest more of their income into the family and community than men.  Today’s organization is working to help more girls in the developing world get an education.

She’s the First is a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world. We encourage people, especially Millennials, to creatively fundraise for girls’ sponsorships with their online and offline social networks. 

Tammy Tibbetts first thought of the idea for She’s the First when she was working on the launch of DonateMyDress.org (an online directory of organizations that collect and distribute prom dresses to girls in need).  She wondered why there wasn’t a directory of school programs for girls in the developing world.  A post on Facebook would reconnect Tammy with an acquaintance Christen Brandt.  Together they figured out the mission statement for She’s the First.

She’s the First’s model is to partner with charitable NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that run the sponsorship programs in third-world countries. The She’s the First leadership and research team extensively interviews all partners before admitting them into the directory and maintains a close relationship with program directors year-round.  First hand updates are posted about the girls on the She’s the First blog.

In 2010 the organization sponsored 32 girls to get an education.  They raise money for sponsorships through two marquee events in New York City, GIRLS WHO ROCK and the She’s the First Soiree.  In addition, students can start their own She’s the First group at their school.  These groups commit to social media efforts, monthly acts of awareness, and one fundraiser a semester for girls’ sponsorships in partner programs within the She’s the First directory.  

How can you help?

  • Anyone can help by independently hosting an event or party to sponsor a girl at any time.  The organization provides fundraising ideas on their website
  • You can also donate directly to one of the sponsorship programs through the She’s the First directory.
  • High school and college groups can inquire about forming a local chapter by contacting campus@shesthefirst.org
  • Between November 1 and 8, 2011, you can participate in the She’s the First National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off!  Form a team, bake and sell cupcakes, share pictures via social media and then make your donation toward a sponsorship.  Learn more here.

Learn more about She’s the First on their website, www.shesthefirst.org.  You can also follow them on Twitter or Facebook.  You can also watch videos about the program at Vimeo and follow their blog.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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