Let me start this blog post by declaring that I know next to nothing about fashion. I own three pairs of earrings and only one ring – my wedding ring. My wardrobe primarily consists of black clothing and I wear nothing but sensible shoes. The only pair of heels I’ve purchased over the past decade were for my wedding and somehow I lost them at the reception. I don’t miss them.
What I do know is hard work. What I admire is determination and out-of-the-box thinking. What I LOVE is people who speak their dreams into existence. Let me tell you about Olivia (Livi) Mignone. When Olivia was in high school she dreamed of being a model. Growing up in Queens, Livi had dreams of working in the fashion industry. She wanted to be in front of the camera. Being only 5’1 she knew the deck was stacked against her getting what she wanted. Then one day she did something a lot of people don’t do when they have big dreams. She opened her mouth and told someone. Who was listening?
If you’re a teenager and you have a dream, I’ve got just the man for you. Meet Hal Eisenberg. Hal is the founder and Executive Director of Windows of Opportunity (WOO). Here’s the short story. It’s 2006. High Schooler Livi says “Hal, I wanna be a model but I’m too short.” Hal says, “Livi, make your own fashion show. I’ll help you.” Boom! In 2007, with Hal’s oversight, she creates the 1st Annual Shortstack Fashion Charity Show. Being a great leader, she creates her own team of like-minded young ladies. They find the venue. They get the sponsors. They find the photographers. They find the designers they want to work with. They select the girls who’ll be the models. The day of the show arrives. 100 guests show up. It’s a big success. Livi makes her dream come true.
Here’s the interesting thing about dreams. When they come true their impact extends well beyond the dreamer. On June 22nd Livi and Hal will host Shortstack’s 6th annual show. The money that’s raised will go to fund other Windows of Opportunity programs for teens such as Rock Ur Heart Out, WOO Films, Youth Against Violence, H.E.L.P. (HIV/AIDS Empowerment Leadership Program), OUTReach and many others. Twilight actor Chaske Spencer will be there to be honored with the Unsung Hero Award for his involvement with WOO. The lives that have been impacted are too many to count.
So here’s to you, Olivia Mignone! Thank you for opening your mouth years ago, getting unreasonable about your life, and saying what mattered to you. We are all the better for it.
Shortstack’s 6th Annual Charity Fashion Show will take place on June 22nd at Midtown Loft and Terrace. Tickets are $55. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show starts at 8:00 p.m. To buy tickets click here. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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