Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Just 'Cause featured in The Seminole Chronicle!
Worthy of cross-blogging...:)
Warmest thanks to Amy Tobik with The Seminole Chronicle for authoring this comprehensive article on Just 'Cause on behalf of Susan Southerland, Kristy Chenell and I. Our grassroots effort in making the young girls in our community feel beautiful, despite their financial means, via stylish and designer bridesmaid dresses in quickly becoming a blessing and reality thanks to our media network of friends and colleagues.
Read this impressive article below or simply click on The Seminole Chronicle's link-
Nonprofit gives away formals
By Amy K.D. Tobik | November 18, 2009
The parking lot was brimming with excitement as casually dressed men and women stepped up to home plate, geared to knock the big, red rubber ball out of the Winter Park lot.
Amid laughter and light-hearted teasing, these young professionals caught fly balls and tagged each other out, all in the name of couture.
More than 130 wedding industry professionals and friends gathered after work for a friendly game of kickball Nov. 4, quite literally, to kick off a new nonprofit community project.
The organization, aptly named "Just 'Cause," is dedicated to providing underprivileged young teenage girls in Central Florida with formal wear. The grassroots project is the brainchild of Lisa Konecny, owner of the Winter Park based wedding and event business, E-Events.
"We have so many dresses in our closets that we never wear again, and this is a great way to maximize their usage and exposure," Konecny said. "I am hoping to help girls in middle to high school who need a formal dress for a prom, school dance or a stylish dress to attend a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah," Konecny said.
As the mother of two Girl Scouts, Konecny said she has been planning for years to put together a large-scale community service project to benefit young girls.
Between building her wedding and event planning business and caring for her family, she knew she needed to partner with the right people, at the right time, to make it a success.
"After a few meetings with fellow wedding planner Susan Southerland, owner of Just Marry of Windermere, I fell in love with the idea," she said. To broaden the scope of her project, Konecny also partnered up with business strategist Kristy Chenell, who will grow the organization nationally.
Just 'Cause will initiate the help of Girl Scouts of Citrus Council as well as local school guidance counselors and churches to spread the word of availability to those in need.
Konecny said she also plans to recruit the help of local Girl Scouts to coordinate the collection of the formal dresses, thereby promoting volunteerism and altruism through the nonprofit.
Several Orlando-based hotels and businesses have also offered to act as drop-off points, such as The Portofino Bay Hotel, Perfect Wedding Guide's corporate office, Write In Style's studio, Solutions Bridal Salon and Flowers of Winter Park.
Donated dresses will be altered with help from local seamstresses, budding designers and stylists to fit the need and style of the girl.
As news of the organization spreads and dresses are collected, Konecny hopes to coordinate a special event for some of the recipients to model the dresses at one of her local fashion events.
Konecny said she is thrilled by how quickly news of Just 'Cause is spreading locally. Orlando news anchor Jackie London has committed to donating several of her dresses and recent bride Tanya Eldemire has offered to donate at least 10 bridesmaid and formal dresses of her own.
Eldemire, who is running for the title of Mrs. Florida later this year, will be using Just 'Cause as her platform.
"When young women are given the opportunity to experience things that they may not have had the opportunity to experience otherwise, it builds their confidence and self esteem," Eldemire said. "I've been inspired by various influences, and it is important for me to pay it forward. Just 'Cause allows young women that opportunity.
"Every girl deserves to experience an event where they can feel beautiful, and a dress at no cost to them is just the beginning."
Konecny said she imagines what it will be like to witness a young girl wearing the dress of her dreams. "I hope to manage through tears," she said. "There is nothing better than seeing a girl feel completely confident and beautiful."