BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Never underestimate a group of community-minded, teenage girls when it comes to finishing a fundraising project for charity, especially if they can do it while styling some cool fashions on the runway.
“Normally, this is a fall fashion show. It’s been moved to the spring but we did different things,” said Gabrielle’s owner Wendy Figer. “Normally, we have a basket raffle where we ask small businesses to contribute. Well, everybody’s been hurt by the pandemic, so we didn’t do that this year. We sold T-shirts. So, they made money off of that.”
The 25-member group chose the Gulf Coast Center for Non-Violence as the beneficiary of this year’s funds.
“We donate to a nonprofit organization,” said member Riley Rushing. “So it’s bringing not only awareness to the program but it’s with a group of girls who all aspire to come together and donate and be a part of this amazing group.”
And, for these teens, it’s pretty easy to change from T-shirts and jeans to something a little more stylish.
“I have always loved fashion, so when I heard this was a master program for a boutique, I was so excited because I knew we were going to get to do a lot of projects with different clothing items, and stuff like that,” said member Anna Grace Young.
In this case, all COVID did was change the fashion focus.
“Well, due to the pandemic, there’s lots of leisure wear but, at the same time, now that things are opening back up, people are very excited and wanting to dress,” Figer said.
But this show is about much more than just the clothes for the girls who participate. It’s the opportunity to help out their community while also working together to achieve their goal.
“It feels good because I did it with new people,” said member Sophie Schloegel after the show. “I get to look back on experiences I got to do with new friends while I’m also helping people who aren’t as fortunate as us. So, it’s just good memories.”
“Oh, it’s amazing, especially during this year with all the stuff we’ve had to go through as a group to get to where we are today,” said Young. “It’s just so satisfying to know that everyone’s putting their full effort to get to the best place.”
The group, which altogether has had three fashion shows, raised more than $9,000 dollars in 2019 for the SoSo Strong Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.