I Participated in the Junior League of Charlotte’s Little Black Dress Initiative

Junior League of Charlotte hosted its annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) February 26 through March 2. The purpose of LBDI is to raise awareness about poverty’s effects on children and families in our community. The fundraising goal was set at $60,000.

I heard about LBDI through their Instagram. Since participation was open to Junior League members and the general public, I decided to give it a try! I felt that this would be a great way to support the community by raising money and awareness for a great cause.

In preparation for LBDI, I found a black dress to wear for five days and thought about ways to accessorize. I also practiced what to say when people inquired about the campaign since participants were encouraged to wear an “Ask Me About My Dress” pin.

People asked how I felt about wearing the same dress and to honest, it really hit me the fourth day. By then I felt like I needed to wash it and it already needed to be ironed after the first day. But I didn't do anything to the dress. Why? Because people who are living in poverty can't just wash or iron clothing at ease. They have to make do with what they have, and that’s what I did.

Since this was my first time participating, I set my goal at $200. I only raised $145 but I gained a new understanding of poverty in the city of Charlotte.

Here are a few facts that I used in posts to encourage donations:

  • 50,000 children in Charlotte are currently living in poverty

  • Almost 1 in 5 children in Charlotte are currently living in poverty

  • Over 4,000 children in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools are reported homeless

  • 134,000 Charlotteans are living in poverty

The week following the LBDI, I went back to having to plan out outfits for work each day. I had gotten used to wearing the same dress so it felt weird wearing something else at first.

After participating in this campaign, I look at my wardrobe with a new set of eyes. Think about how many times have you found out about an event and said, “I have nothing to wear!” I’m also guilty. But that is a comment that I now know I shouldn’t make. I have enough options to choose from. Wearing the same dress for five days showed me what it truly means to have nothing to wear and limited resources. I’m more grateful for what I have and I’m even more inspired to give back to others. The 2018 LBDI raised a total of $66,425! This was a wonderful experience and I hope to raise money and awareness in the future with the Junior League of Charlotte Little Black Dress Initiative.

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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

One of the best things about being a child is thinking that your life is going to be perfect. You daydream in class and fantasize about this made up fairy tale. People always ask you, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And you always have an interesting answer because you're young and you've got your whole life ahead of you. Those were the days. 

It's a beautiful thing to hear children talk about their hopes and dreams. It gives you insight on their perspective on life. And for some of us who are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up, it may even give us some new ideas.

When I was growing up, there was always something that I wanted to be. When people asked, I was ready. These are the occupations that I can remember wanting before turning ten years old. Since I'm able to remember them, they must have been the things I wanted to be the most!

The Little Mermaid

At four years old, I was set on being The Little Mermaid. I loved the movies and all of the songs. I had a Little Mermaid t-shirt that I wore all of the time. I thought she was the coolest Disney Princess. 


Fly Girl

Yes, I watched In Living Color when I was a kid. I probably shouldn't have but a lot of jokes didn't register. The only thing I remember was wanting to be like the girls who danced on the show. I just knew that I would be on the set when I grew up in my dope 90's outfit dancing my little heart out.


Ice Skater

I was in awe of ice skaters' elegance and grace on the ice. And the pretty, shiny, glittery outfits, I wanted them all. It looked so much fun to me. I thought of it as the closest thing to being able to fly.

 


Judge

I used to watch Judge Judy every day after school. I admired her because she was straightforward and put her foot down. I guess I thought I would transform into an assertive and witty professional if I too, were a judge. 

By the end of my fourth-grade year, I was set on one career. Writing. I fell in love with writing when I was nine years old. All of my previous career goals vanished once I realized how much I love to write. Even though I decided to go into marketing while I was in college, I will always be a writer first. 

When I think about what I thought I wanted to be as a child, I can't help but laugh at myself. I can't swim, I love to dance but not in public without liquid courage, I don't like ice skating, and it's been years since I've watched court shows.

What did you want to be when you became a grown up? 

Before You Choose a Career, Get an Internship!

For the most part, we get to try things out before making a decision. We test drive cars before we buy them. We visit houses in person before signing mortgages. We try on clothes before we add them to our wardrobes. 

The same can happen in our careers! I highly recommend taking an internship to decide if you’re in the right field. 

I started doing internships in high school. My school called them "Explorer’s Programs." I completed one at the Mint Museum, The Charlotte Observer, and Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. I gained valuable experience. I learned how to be a better writer, earned volunteer hours as a junior docent, learned about Charlotte art, self-defense, etiquette tips, and more.

The most important thing I learned was that I no longer wanted to go to school for journalism. Why? Because I was advised in high school, that within five years people wouldn't be reading newspapers and magazines. I couldn't believe my ears. I loved newspapers and magazines. I read them faithfully. This was pre-social media and WiFi. So the thought of not reading the news in print just didn't sit well with me. However, I kept it in mind and considered other options. 

Once I got to college it all made sense. Social media is where we find out about everything. By the time the news hits the stands we've already seen it through an app on our phones. 

As an undergrad, I gravitated more toward social media, event planning, and marketing. I also completed more internships where I learned more about radio, public relations, and digital marketing.

I landed in higher education, which ended up being a great fit. My journey to get here would have been more difficult had I not done those internships. Each one taught me something different that I will always remember and apply to my current and future jobs.

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Whether you’re in school or not I recommend doing an internship. Most programs are for college students but it won't hurt to ask. It's the best way to determine if what you think you want to do is actually what you want to. 

If you’d like to set up a resume workshop, mock interview or need advice on internships, please contact me

P.S. I don't have very many pictures. This was before smartphones. As you can see, I have a digital camera around my neck! :-) 

My First Wine Tasting

I am a proud member of the Urban League of Central Carolinas Young Professionals Auxiliary. Our exec board hosted several events during Join Week 2018. It was an honor to facilitate the Wine Tasting for fellow young professionals. 

During the wine tasting, we reviewed wine etiquette including different types of glasses and how to hold a wine glass properly. We sampled Moscato, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Thank you to the Urban League YP's for allowing me to help with the tasting. It was a great experience and I look forward to future events! 

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