Conscious party: My Sistah Taught Me That

RUNWAY READY: Youths rehearse for a fashion show to support new mentorship program My Sistah Tought Me That.
RUNWAY READY: Youths rehearse for a fashion show to support new mentorship program My Sistah Tought Me That. Photo courtesy of MSTMT

WHAT: A fashion show fundraiser

WHEN: Sunday, June 12, at 4 p.m.

WHERE: Celine’s on Broadway

WHY: “There is a huge need for mentorship for young girls who are growing up in single-parent homes without their father. That’s the whole premise behind My Sistah Taught Me That,” says Leslie Council, who recently founded the female-focused branch of My Daddy Taught Me That. Council and a team of other local professional women will enroll 28 girls ages 11-19, beginning in July and ideally lasting through participants’ high school graduation and into their college years.

“The cool thing about this is we’re dealing with life issues,” she says, and not academics. At weekly meetings, students will discuss topics like health and wellness or partake in interactive lessons.Those will include belly dancing classes that promote a positive body image and art workshops, among other activities.

“Once a month, we’re going to do some type of outing, and that means taking [the girls] out of their comfort zone. … A lot of their experience is within the four walls of public housing, their school and some church. That’s it.” College campus tours or a simple hike up Mount Pisgah, Council says, will introduce the youths to assets in and beyond Western North Carolina. And her team hopes to emphasize that many women “work here and have great lives” along the way.

To cover the cost of transportation, food and other supplies during year one, the volunteer-based organization will host a youth fashion show with applicants and others. Council, who owns a fashion consulting business, has already begun coaching the models on how to show off three looks furnished by sponsors Versona and Charmed: accessories, casual wear and formal dress.

“They’re even learning some fundamental skills while we’re rehearsing,” Council says. “One of the girls was like ‘What if people yell out and talk about me while I’m walking down the runway?’ and I was like ‘Girl, you have to keep your head up, keep your chin up, keep your shoulders back, keep looking forward and just keep walking. Not only on the runway, but in life too, you keep walking.”

Visit mstmtfashionshow.eventbrite.com for more information or to purchase tickets ($15/$20). 

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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