You’ve always had the power, my dear. You’ve had it all along. – Glinda, the Good Witch, Wizard of Oz
If you read this blog with any regularity, you are well aware of my love for helping out. As a personal stylist, I have the incredible opportunity to help individual women seize control of their personal style, the way the world perceives them, the way they see themselves.
I love this feeling and am very fortunate to have a job that allows me to experience it on a regular basis. Equally gratifying is empowering other people to give back in a way that is meaningful to them. A little inspiration goes a long way. So, today's post is all about celebrating local treasure, The Ruby Room. It's much more than you can imagine. Off we go!
The Ruby Room: It's More Than Just a Dress.
You may have heard of the Ruby Room before. It's a local nonprofit organization that outfits low income youth with prom dresses. Perhaps you've even donated to the Ruby Room. If you haven't heard, big things are happening over there and I'm dying to tell you about it.
1. The f-Factor and the Ruby Room Merged.
One of my favorite local organizations is the f-Factor. The f-Factor provides workshops for foster and abandoned youth. The youth walk away with life skills and brand new clothing. I've been fortunate to help out with this crew and the work is inspiring. Recently, the f-Factor and the Ruby Room merged. And, why not? They both serve low income youth using the transformational power of fashion and caring individuals. Powerhouse (and f-Factor founder) Ellen Young has taken the Ruby Room to another level in just a few short months.
2. Is it a High End Wedding Boutique or the Ruby Room?
As you likely know, Dear Reader, I am a dedicated supporter of YouthCare, a local nonprofit that supports homeless youth. And, the YouthCare prom is right around the corner. So, I was THRILLED when the Ruby Room team invited me to style youth from YouthCare at the Ruby Room last weekend. I had yet to visit the new space and was floored when I walked in the door. It feels like a high end wedding boutique. From the moment Ruby Room clients enter the boutique, they are greeted with a luxurious space and top of the line service. Volunteers are dressed in all black with pops of color and scurry around the relaxing area complete with a three way mirror and a chaise lounge. Accessories are displayed throughout and dresses are organized by color within each size. A former regional manager from Chico's helped make the space more inviting and it shows.
3. It's Steps From Bellevue Square.
Years of working with at risk youth has taught me to appreciate the little things. They are accustomed to being dismissed and disappointed. Often times, society expects them to be grateful for any help they receive. They should be happy with any dress, for example. Which, let's be honest, is crazy. Who among us would be happy to wear whatever is given to us? With no regard to our personal style, this approach is simply another instance that youth aren't heard. But, The Ruby Room is different. Each client is treated like a valuable customer with her own taste and comfort level. The experience is special. And part of that is the location. Thanks to generous assistance from local development company Kemper Development Co., the boutique is just steps from Bellevue Square. The layout and location make the attendees feel transformed, if only for a few hours, into young women who are living a normal life. A life that allows them to shop for prom dresses with someone who cares about them. To prepare for a night that will live in their memories forever. They get to experiment with looks. Will it be sequins, full length, body conscious or full on princess? And, of course, remember the make up, shoes and accessories. All of this is now possible.
4. It's All Because of People Like You.
I can't tell you how surprised I was to see the quality of the gowns in the Ruby Room. Truly. They were extraordinary. And where did they all come from? They came from people just like you. They came from wedding boutiques, individuals and clothing drives. So, if you have a formal dress or two shoved in the back of your closet waiting for someday, consider that someday for a low income youth could be today. Share your treasures. Each time you remember wearing it, be reminded of the second (or third or fourth) life that it brings to someone else.
Looking for more info on the Ruby Room? Here's the site. And, if you feel like donating clothes, accessories or shoes; but don't have any formals right now, don't worry. Your time will come.
If you are interested in donating work appropriate clothes for men or women, YouthCare accepts those. We joyously use them at the Poplin Styling Sessions for youth in the Barista Training Program who need appropriate pieces for job interviews. Thanks in advance for all you do. Enjoy your week!