Adrian Smith, with the Quigley Realty Group, tells the story of how some very inspiring young ladies have impacted her life, and what she is doing to help them out this holiday season by gathering dressing for DressGiving 2012.
I met the lovely ladies of Athena’s Warehouse at a Yelp Helps event during the Fall. There were several non-profits at the event raising awareness about each of their causes. I went in an effort to support Artemis, which is Fernbank’s Young Professionals Guild. I’ve been involved with them going on 4 years. We put on a themed Gala each June, with our event last year raising the most in all 18 years of the event’s existence at $207,000 net going towards Children’s Programming. Needless to say, we’re always looking to other organizations for ideas, support and to lend a helping hand.
As I made my way by endless tables full of color copies and volunteers twiddling their thumbs, I was drawn to the Athena’s Warehouse booth. They had a really fun photo booth setup with all sorts of props you could pick up and pose with, as well and tons of young women and men carrying on and having a good time. They were the sort of group you wanted to find out what they were all about because it just looked exciting and encouraging.
I was greeted with a smile by one of the founding sisters. The organization was founded in 2009 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to improving lives of teenage girls by empowering them through personal support and public service. Athena’s Warehouse is currently an unpaid, all-volunteer organization that relies on a six-member board, community partners, volunteers, and donors to carry out its programs and services.
I was intrigued, picked up some information and sort of forgot about it, until I received an email from Bee Nguyen a few months ago about Athena’s Warehouse’s first Career Day at Cross Keys High School. They held an event with 20+ professionals from various fields where each student went through a mock interview with 3 different professionals. After the interviews were done, we rated each student and the ones with the highest ratings received prizes. As a real estate agent, getting involved in the community is essentially part of my job so I was excited to participate but had no idea how affected I would actually be. In talking with the high school girls, I learned that many of their stresses about college had to do with the fact that they were worried about who was going to cook dinner at home, babysit and help pay bills while they were at school. I felt nearly humbled to tears and honored to be in the presence of young women with such strength in adversity.
From what I understand Career Day was part of their Be Awesome, Be Aware initiative. This is an awareness program for high school senior girls at Cross Keys High School. Comprised of seven workshops, the program features professional guest speakers who lecture on real-life topics such as college preparation, positive body image, nutrition, financial literacy, and teen pregnancy prevention. At the end of the program, they award scholarships to two deserving students, based on attendance, participation, and a one-page essay.
Much to my excitement, when I emailed Bee Nguyen asking about what I could help with next. She told me about the Dressgiving Drive. I’m collecting gently used ball gowns, cocktail dress and even bridesmaids dresses to turn into Athena’s Warehouse by December 21st. I’m encouraging all family and friends to rally together with their offices to collect even more dresses. Athena’s Warehouse volunteers will come pick them up at your place of business if you have a minimum of 10 dresses. Once collected, they’ll be dry cleaning and delivering to the girls in need.
I’ve already collected 10 dresses from agents within my company at Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty and encourage you to spread the word at your place of employment too. Check out this link for details on how to get involved in DressGiving 2012