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Kids

Style Saves MLK Day Recap

On January 16th, 2017, the Style Saves team opened shop in Brooklyn, New York for their 2nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. day giveback event at The Fresh Creek School. 

Style Saves gathered hundreds of winter necessities, which ranged from items of clothing, coats, pants, denim, and accessories for underprivileged boys and girls. Because of all these generous donations by our friends at TagPop and donations of hangers and racks from our friends at Set Shop, we were able to serve over 250 students and provide a fun-filled day for them to enjoy with their peers and family. 

“Thank you for the best party ever and pretty clothes! I feel like a princess in my new coat.” -student from The Fresh Creek School 

Activations included a nail station with polish donated by Sinful Colors, a braid bar by Curly Kids Hair, haircuts by Maria Mok salon, yummy empanadas from Nuchas NYC, water from La Croix, music by DJ Staisean, a Photo Booth from The Bosco, games and activities by Harrington Lane and child actress Jada Starz, a special guest performance by kid DJ AnnieRed, and arts and DIY kites and dream catchers by Darcy. 

“This was the most well run and joyous charity event I have ever attended. I've worked with a number of non-profits and founded a few, and in many capacities I feel like these initiatives are graded on the basis of how much you impact the end users life and how much betterment you provide. I truly believe that Style Saves earned an A.” - Henry Lihn, Co-Founder of TagPop

On behalf of the entire team, we are incredibly grateful for all the support from our sponsors, donors, volunteers and friends who helped make this event such a huge success; It was over and above what we could have expected! We cant wait to do it again next year!

“An absolutely amazing and well excited event. I know my kids will be talking about it for weeks to come! Style Saves delivered another incredible year. We are so thankful.” -Mrs. Jacqueline Coombs, Principal of The Fresh Creek School

Back-to-School Success 2016!

Words cannot possibly express our gratitude for the outpouring support we received for our sixth annual Style Saves Back-to-School event at Jungle Island. We would not have been able to successfully dress more than 2,500 underprivileged Miami-Dade County Public School students, without our amazing Style Saves team and passionate volunteers. “We were able to serve more children than ever before,” said Style Saves founder and president Rachael Russell. “We continue to grow and expand each year, and it’s all because of the incredible amount of support from the community. We can’t begin to thank everyone enough.”

The Pink Panther & Smurf made a guest appearance at this years B2S Event!

The Pink Panther & Smurf made a guest appearance at this years B2S Event!

Here’s a mini recap of our annual two-day event…

Before heading back to school on August 22, more than 2,500 children and teens from ages six to 18 arrived at the park beaming with excitement for the two-day extravaganza.

Among these organizations were Voices For Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Communities In Schools of Miami, Lotus House and the Irie Foundation.

Jungle Island invited some of their four legged friends to meet students.

Jungle Island invited some of their four legged friends to meet students.

The children were fully outfitted with uniforms, sneakers, backpacks, belts, bows, and accessories, along with school supplies, shampoo, and conditioner, after a warm greeting by M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Deputy Mayor Russell Benford. Following their styling, the children received mini-manicures and haircuts, and (oh, so adorably) flaunted their new looks down the Style Saves Back-to-School runway.

M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho & President of Style Saves Rachael Russell pose for the camera at the end of our mini-runway!

M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho & President of Style Saves Rachael Russell pose for the camera at the end of our mini-runway!

Participating children were given free access to Jungle Island, where they enjoyed fun and educational discoveries, including the park’s animals, three engaging shows, multiple exhibits, and so much more.

We’d like to give a very special thanks to Isabela Rangel Grumman, MMG, Evian, Funkshion Productions, Gilt Groupe, Jordache, Jugofresh, Jungle Island, Pantene, Perry Ellis, Sugar Factory, U.S. Polo Assn, Vita Coco, Wrangler, and all of our fabulous and stylish volunteers. We cannot wait to do it all over again next year!

 

STYLE SAVES GOES TO CUBA

STYLE SAVES GOES TO CUBA

On Wednesday, March 30th, a group of 21 volunteers, including artists, journalists, and communication experts, packed their bags and headed to Havana, Cuba with a mission to inspire and encourage young artistic minds. The trip, with stops at the Los Leopolditos orphanage and Academia de Ballas Artes San Alejandro, proved to be extremely rewarding for all participats, and has built insurmountable excitement for future Style Saves mission trips.

As the team arrived at the first destination at the Los Leopolditos orphanage right outside of Havana, 87 children from the ages of 6 to 12 years old eagerly shouted “Llegaron, llegaron!” (They’ve arrived!) as the Style Saves team pulled into the long driveway. The team unpacked their bags brimming with boxes of colored pencils, crayons, markers, play dough, coloring books and other art supplies for the children before being serenaded with a beautiful song by four fourth grade girls. As the day unfolded, the Style Saves team and the children enjoyed fun-filled activities, games, and arts and crafts. The children’s profound joy and appreciation made it almost impossible to say goodbye.

The next day, Style Saves visited the Academia de Ballas Artes San Alejandro to host fashion, social media, storytelling, photography, and performance art workshops for university students. Aileen Quintana, a Miami-based Cuban-American performance artist and Styles Saves team member, created a moving performance piece depicting how her parents left Havana to come to the United States. “It was an honor to give back to a country where my blood runs thick,” said Quintana. “Being able to inspire the children of San Alejandro and speak about the concepts and theoretical approaches on performance art was an incredible experience.”

 

Writer and producer Joan Caspi taught a True Stories Workshop. With the help of her daughter, Lindsay, Caspi highlighted the importance of compelling storytelling and provided students with essential tips from her personal experiences. “Sharing a true story with a roomful of strangers is a profound and deeply connective experience,” said Caspi. “From this one-day workshop, we collected the true stories of nearly 30 students. They can be heard on Wynwood Radio in both Spanish and English on “Voices from Cuba.” Amanda Harris, Director of Communications at EAST Hotel, led the social media workshop and showed students how social media can be a powerful tool to market artists and brands. “Being that technology is quite limited in Cuba, I had the students use their imaginations to create personal brand images and pretend Instagram profiles that they felt would be the best representation of their art if they were to have such a platform to do so,” said Harris. “In the end, I realized that the exercise we were doing was really no different than the world I was teaching them about. Social media is imaginary, and thanks to the imagination, the students were able to journey into a world of hope and empowerment.”

Cuban-American artist Alexander Mijares painted a beautiful and elaborate mural for the school, a project that was very close to his heart. “To visit and create where great Cuban masters, like my great uncle, painter Jose Mijares, studied was such a great honor,” said Mijares. “Working with the students to create the artwork gave me the chance to connect with them and build a special bond. It was all around was an unforgettable experience.”

Beautiful moments were shared throughout the trip, and the Style Saves team is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with enthusiastic young minds. “Having the opportunity to bring 21 friends with art and fashion backgrounds to share their experiences with the students of Cuba was so special,” said Style Saves founder and president Rachael Russell.

Style Saves would like to thank Las Historiadoras for the very generous donation of printers and school supplies made to both Los Leopolditos orphanage and Academia de Ballas Artes San Alejandro. The team would also like to thank the Los Leopolditos orphanage, Academia de Bellas Artes San Alejandro director Sandra Fuentes, and professor and artist Rafael Villares for welcoming them with open arms and making them feel at home. Style Saves would also like to extend a very special thanks to all of the volunteers who made the trip a truly unforgettable experience. If you’d like to make a donation or become involved with a Style Saves mission trip, email info@stylesaves.org.