Happy Friday everyone! A very special announcement today.
Please stay till the end if you have a moment =)
Before sharing the news, lets take a quick moment and talk about warm holiday pieces. I’m obsessed with this knit skirt (under $15!). From morning lattes to late night coffee runs, I’ve been wearing this skirt (also adore this ribbed skirt) non-stop. Styled two ways below =) I love the knit material and longer silhouette. I’ve paired it with tall boots and ankle booties, and appreciate how versatile it is.
For the last few months, I’ve been running on a lot of coffee. 2-3 shots in the morning and black coffee at night. I’m very close to figuring out how to pump it straight into my veins. Joking aside, I’m up day and night thinking and working on something that’s very close to my heart. Plans were set in motion about a year ago and all of the moving pieces didn’t really come together till now.
When I was in foster care, my social worker said something that shook my world. She said… 30% of foster youths will become homeless, 30% will be incarcerated, 30% of the women will become pregnant, 10% might make it, and of that 10% only a handful will make it. After I heard that, I knew education was my way out. I was very fortunate that UC Berkeley gave me a second chance at life. While at Cal (go Bears!), I volunteered at the Berkeley Free Clinic as a counselor providing free therapy to the homeless community. I did this because I wanted to find other foster youths. According to my social worker, they would be there and some were. I was at the clinic for two years and left after I graduated from Berkeley.
After college, I worked at Wells Fargo for a few years. While at Wells, I applied to be a tutor at the Juvenile Detention Center in San Francisco. The executive director gave me a meeting place but I showed up at the wrong address. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon and I found myself standing in front of the Detention Center. No one was inside and I could see my reflection from the door. It was as though the world stopped and I felt like I was… home. It was the strangest feeling. I felt as though I found a place where I belonged. I guess I was trying to find the foster youths. The 30% that my social worker was talking about.
I passed my interview and spent two years at the highest security level of the Detention Center teaching the high school GED program. When I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I started my search again and interviewed at InsideOut Writers, a non-profit that supports previously incarcerated youths. I’ve been with IOW for three years now.
I count my blessings every day and ever so thankful to be here… to be writing this, to have the honor of you reading this, and to be part of this fashion community. In a way, fashion saved me. When I was little till now, I found an escape through fashion. It set my mind free. It served as (and still is) a canvas for my creativity and dreams. One of my dreams for the past few years was to have a place where former foster and incarcerated youths (most of them are from foster care) can come and use fashion as their creative expression. In a few weeks, we will be launching the Wendy’s Lookbook Foundation. I can’t wait to share more details with you after we launch. I can’t wait for you to meet the youths. I can’t wait to share their words and art with you. Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you thank you.
Thank you so much for reading and a very special thank you to Joe Fresh for partnering on this post! 100% of the proceeds from this campaign will go to the Wendy’s Lookbook Foundation.
:: Outfit Red ::
:: Outfit Striped ::Thank you so much for reading!