These days, the holiday season is often equated with shopping, spending, and a general frenzy of consuming. But this year, why not give something back? #GivingTuesday is a new annual movement following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday that inspires personal philanthropy and encourages giving to charitable initiatives. It’s an organizing principle to support the creativity and energy of people all over the world to work together for good.
This year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on December 3rd—a full 10 days prior to “J’adore la Mode,” the 4th Annual Fashion Gala benefiting The Evoluer House on December, Friday the 13th at the historic University of the Arts, Dorrance Hamilton Hall, Broad & Pine Streets. International celebrity stylist Kithe Brewster, considered one of the most prolific fashion minds in the industry today, will present a special preview of his Spring 2014 Collection to help raise funds for the award-winning Evoluer House Programs.
Of the 1.5 million people living in the Philadelphia region, nearly 200,000 are girls under the age of 18. These young women make up the largest youth generation in history, and are facing challenges of historic proportions. The choices and opportunities made available to adolescent girls in the coming years will shape their lives and those around them. Since 2004, the Evoluer House has underscored the importance of empowering at-risk Philadelphia-area girls through its researched-based 12-week Personal Development and Workforce Development programs. This in-demand program has served over 800 girls, and boast a waiting list of hundreds.
“When you educate a girl, you are breaking the cycle of poverty in just one generation,” says Evoluer House Executive Director, Cheryl Ann Wadlington.
“We don’t hear the alarm ringing enough in terms of addressing the issues marginalized girls face right here in our area.There are a daunting array of problems,and they need our help. Not only are we facing a high school graduation crisis, but our girls are struggling with health and obesity issues, gang violence, bullying and drug abuse.”
In Philadelphia, there is a critical need to provide effective programs that are pro-active rather than reactive when it comes to addressing the needs of girls from socioeconomic challenged–or poor–backgrounds. The Evoluer House teaches girls character and citizenship through a series of structured workshops designed to challenge them to develop leadership skills, strong values, social consciousness and conviction in their own potential and self-worth. Evoluer House programs boasts a 100% high school graduation rate — a success that led Black Enterprise magazine to proclaim program The Evoluer House an “everyday hero” (along side the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls) as part of a committed community effort to prevent young women from engaging in risky behavior that can scar them for life.
Wadlington continues: “When women and girls earn an income they invest 90% into their families and communities, as compared to men who contribute only 30 to 40%. So, the choices and opportunities that are made available to girls in the coming years is important — and an Evoluer House program is an option that enriches girls, their families, their communities, and ultimately, the world.”
As if that’s not enough, Brewster is bringing with him two Philadelphia-born stars – supermodel Sessilee Lopez (Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar, NY Times Style magazine, CK One fragrance, Karl Lagerfeld) and celebrity dancer/choreographer Anthony Burrell (“The Beyonce Experience,” “Glee,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and the “Girl Like Me Tour” by Rihanna). Lopez will be the recipient of The Evoluer House 2013 Trailblazer Award as a pioneering model who persevered against the odds to leave her distinct mark on the international fashion industry.
International actress/model Anna Rezan-Kritselis, who was recently declared best dressed actress at the Cannes Film Festival, will strut the runway.
Finally, LaBelle’s Sarah Dash, of disco anthem “Lady Marmalade” fame will serve as the honorary chair of this year’s charity event and silent auction.
“We’re thrilled to have so much celebrity talent on hand to raise funds for The Evoluer House,” Executive Director Cheryl Wadlington said. “Sarah Dash, Kithe Brewster, Anthony Burrell and Sessilee Lopez have accomplished what many young people only dream of becoming, and they did so with grace dignity and style. I applaud them for their selflessness and willingness to empower and motivate this future generation of young women.”
The benefit’s title, “J’adore la Mode” is especially appropriate for Brewster’s appearance. He spent seven years in Paris, moving there at the age of 19 to pursue a career in styling. Within the world of fashion, Kithe Brewster’s name has become synonymous with fearless creativity. While Brewster’s independent vision and design sense drives him to succeed sets him apart from the others, he is also fearless in his encouragement for young fashionistas to achieve their goals.
“I am excited about the Evoluer House because I got a chance to see it work,” Brewster said. “Several Evoluer Girls came to my fashion show in New York, and they got a chance to be behind stage and watch a fashion show happen before their eyes and be a part of that. That’s empowerment, and I believe in that. Every season since I’ve done my show, I take young interns and stylists to the directors backstage, to give kids who don’t get the opportunity to see another world. That hopefully might just be the one thing that inspires another kid to go for their dream, and they will keep carrying that tradition on.”
Event sponsors and partners include: Always Best Care, Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon, Ciroc Amaretto, Original Bartenders Premium Selection “I’m Coconuts Over You,” Nicka K New York, DermHA, Evoluer Image Consultants, Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, Wilhelmina Philadelphia, Philly360.com, Kamile Kuntz Photography, Trilogy Nightclub & Hookah Lounge, The Art Institute of Philadelphia, QueerTimes.net, Style Pooh-Bahs, Backstage Pass To Beauty, and Mami magazine.
The 4th Annual Fashion Gala to Benefit The Evoluer House: 2013’s Most Anticipated Fashion Show on December 13, 2013 from 7 pm – 10 pm at The University of the Arts-Dorrance Hamilton Hall, 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. Advance Tickets: $100 per person; Front Row Show Seats: $250— Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. For tickets,www.evoluerhouse.org or (215) 592-8988. #PhillyFashionFirst