CONTENT 4 Founderâ€™s Note 6 Meet Valerie 8 Inspiring Kids to Volunteer 10 Breakfast at The Limited 14 Back to School Saving Mindset 15 Back to School Tips 15 A Kid-Friendly Healthy Recipe 16 Ready. Set. Go!! 18 CLS Month in Review 20 Bowling and Bonding 22 Member Spotlight 26 Community Partner
Issue 4 August 2015
Avis Pitts LaShanda Pitts
Simone Darlington LaShanda Pitts
LaShanda Pitts Aaronica Bell-Cole Brad Jamison Shynna Key Tarrah Gales Eboni Brown Dr. April Thomas Avis Pitts Kimmie Lampkin
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Gerald Grande (www.fortemediasite.com) Jason Byrdsell (www.enphocusphotography.com) MAGAZINE LAYOUT
Simone Darlington (www.tamlyndesign.com) BE A PART OF THE NEXT CLASSY CHRONICES
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Inside CLASSYCHRONICLES FOUNDER’S NOTE
Photo: Jason Byrdsell of www.enphocusphotography.com.
Recently I was asked during a radio broadcast interview, “Why did I create a women’s only organization?” Immediately without hesitation I responded, “Why not!” Women are awesome! Our individual strength is amazing, but together our efforts are life changing. Creating an organization catered to women presents a safe haven for compassion, empowerment and education. When the thought of women comes to mind, visuals symbolic of trust are presented. I think about all the support I’ve received and all the lessons that I’ve been taught throughout life. Our ability to relate to one another’s vulnerabilities is our opportunity to rise above standards. We find the courage to move forward together, hand and hand. Creating an organization meeting the needs of women was my personal response - rejecting society’s preconceived notion that women can’t work together. It was my way of boldly stating that we are not in competition. I know all too well that our strength is enclosed in our weakness. Therefore, I created an organization based on my personal vision. Just recently, one of our lovely CLS sisters lost her home and all of her valuable possessions due to a fire. Although it was clear that she would be able to replace most things, we came together to give her something that money couldn’t buy; sisterly love. Seeing everyone genuinely laugh and smile together was the perfect explanation to why sisterhood is so important. When I think about women, I think about someone I can trust, someone I can laugh with uncontrollably, and someone with whom I can bond. We don’t necessarily have to be best friends, just someone to turn to when a laugh or suggestion is needed. We all encounter ups and down and hearing someone ask “what can I do to help” or “what do you need” helps alleviate the aloneness felt in the absence of sisterhood. Women are strong and determined. We understand how to improvise and make things happen. However, sometimes things fail, they don’t happen and it’s during this time that someone is needed to lean on. We learn from one another. When one sister lacks in a particular area, another sister picks up. We remember to care for one another, because we know how important it is to have someone who cares. My greatest reward is found through the personal testimonies of our sisters who come to me contesting how CLS has changed their perceptions on different aspects of their lives. When thinking of what I wanted to do, I realized as sisters, we need the strength of each other to reach our greatest potential. As corny as this may sound, I feel if more women would hold hands across the country, we would be able to make impactful differences on the ways others interact. Sisterhood is a necessary component of life. It’s amazing!
LaShanda Pitts Founder
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Valerie by AARONICA BELL-COLE
EVP, Sponsorship & Vendor Relations
How did you get involved with CLS?
I became a part of The Classy Living Society, LLC (CLS) when I was approached by LaShanda Pitts who is the organization’s Founder and CEO back in the fall of 2013. 6
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What was it that made you want to be a part of the group?
CLS’s mission is one of inspiration, philanthropy, volunteerism, socializing and inspiration. It gives women of all creeds, races and socio-economic backgrounds the opportunity to bond together and work directly together for a purpose which is far reaching and goes beyond them. It gives women the purpose to help others in a setting which allows them the opportunity to not only put their best foot forward, but to also set an example and a standard for others they encounter. To be one who lives a “classy life” is one who does all things with class. Class is not the embodiment of nice clothes, and nice hair styles, lashes and so forth, but it is in essence being selfless, going beyond yourself and extending a helping and encouraging hand to those who need it most. While simultaneously creating friendships, networks, bonds with others who have similar passions and ambitions to change the world in which we live. To date, what has been your favorite event while working with CLS and why?
valerie alerte kavanagh, mba As a “new” member to The Classy Living Society, LLC (CLS), I found this interview to be such a treat. Valerie “Val” has been with CLS since the beginning and offers such a beautiful view and vision. Val is a sharp, business and action oriented sister who is about helping others. I could say more about her but her responses speak more to who she is and what she represents more than I ever could.
into a world encroached in sadness and in need of something like this to help build, change, motivate and inspire both women and the non-profits CLS helps.
She contacted me one afternoon and asked if I would be available to meet as she wanted to speak to me personally about something “Amazing”! I of course I obliged and we met shortly thereafter. I invited her to my home and we sat and had a candid, heart to heart conversation where she shared her vision of the organization. After I was sold on the idea and her enthusiasm for such a great cause, we playfully toyed with the naming of the organization. I suggested to her, that she should simply call it what SHE represents, and what in turn the organization would represent, and hence The Classy Living Society, LLC name was born. I have felt very involved and have been actively involved since the very first day. Who wouldn’t be when the organization speaks so much truth
My favorite event was the first one which CLS put together to launch the idea to friends and family. The event had nearly 40 women in attendance, all by word of mouth, and the room was filled with positivity and excitement for what many had no idea was going to be presented. This was the very evening CLS was launched to a room full of endearing supporters. To look around the room and to see the faces of women filled with tears of joy was heartfelt and at that very moment, I knew that being a part of CLS was the right decision for me, and I knew it would be for many to follow. Your new role within CLS is as the EVP of Sponsorship & Vendor Relations. How does this play into the overall goals of CLS?
As the EVP of Sponsorship & Vendor Relations, my goal will continue to be one deeply rooted in helping both vendors and sponsors align themselves with an organization which will help to allow sponsors to be socially responsible and
deeply rooted in helping both vendors and sponsors align themselves with an organization which will help to allow sponsors to be socially responsible and allow vendors to have a means in which they can affordably advertise and market their goods and services to a group of women who are interested in supporting independently owned and small businesses. As an organization we would like to see small businesses become more profitable. Our mission to give a helping hand also translates into the various opportunities which we make available to both our sponsors and our vendors collectively. Can you share some of the benefits of the Vendor Relations aspect of CLS?
Response: CLS offers several opportunities for vendors. First we created what we refer to as “The Classy Avenue” which is a virtual mall where vendors can place their logo on our site as well as their website and general store info. They are also given the opportunity to offer discounts anywhere from 10%-30% to CLS members . What this does is automatically allows CLS members to benefit from the savings and in turn the vendor can reap immediate results. The cost per year is $12 of which the entire “leasing fee”’is donated annually to a local charity. CLS also has opportunities for vendors to advertise in our Digi-Mag entitled “’The Classy Chronicles” advertisement range between $15-$50 dependent if you are a CLS member and of course the size of the advertisement space you purchase. This keeps us aligned with our goal to ensure we are providing affordable means for vendors to advertise. CLS also slopes vendors to vend at both our member only and open to the public events. CLS has three open to the public events a year. One of which is actually coming up in November. This event will boast 200+ attendees which will serve as a great opportunity for vendors to gain maximum exposure at a high-end fundraising event. For all that may be interested I ask that they please visit www.cls-reddress.com to learn more about our sponsorship and vending opportunities. What is something that you’d like others to know about CLS?
I would like people to know that CLS is not a sorority, it’s not looking to compete with other organizations, and it is not rooted in “cliques”. CLS is a safe place for women who want to volunteer, but are often lost because they have no idea how or where opportunities lie, and also while doing so, want to create a bonding experience. Our organization caters to all races, creeds, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds. As a people; as God’s people our goal and mission is to serve. In addition, we understand the importance of bonding together as women and finding a place, a “home” where you can be yourself and smile honestly, converse openly and share passionately your love for seeing the world change by your efforts, and that is what CLS has the ability to do, and does for all who join and partake in what we are offering. CLS does nothing selfishly. Our only mission is to fundraise, give back and help those in our societies which have been neglected or overlooked. We Socialize, Volunteer, and Inspire.
Switching gears, how did you get into the line of work you’re in?
By trade I am a Certified Corporate Paralegal. I went to college with the thought that I would become an attorney. I later found that business was more my calling, but my passion for law was also compelling. With that in mind, I decided to pursue a degree in Business, which I then obtained an MBA with a focus on marketing. Today, I am a Corporate Solutions Manager and help businesses in the southeast to understand their corporate compliance and governance needs. I market compliance solutions to them, and advise them on methods which will allow for them to be transparent in their legal and compliance needs. I enjoy consulting clients, and providing them with substantive value. What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I enjoy the sense of I’m helping someone learn something. My “day job” allows me to further learn about each of my client’s organizations, and the legal compliance needs which they may require; it allows me to understand where I can be a value. My clients appreciate my understanding of corporate law and my prior work experience within a large corporate environment and see value in my guidance. It may not be the same as giving back in the sense of volunteering, but in many ways, it does feel as if I’m making a small difference in the way they conduct business. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
That’s a great question. I see myself spending more time doing more of what I love. This includes spending time enjoying my husband and children, pursuing new endeavors and being whole in all ways. So to answer your question, in 5 years, I see myself in a place of fulfillment in all areas of my life with the knowledge that self-growth and awareness is key and ongoing. The future looks bright! When you were a little girl, how did you envision your life, and how close are you to that vision?
I am the consummate planner. I’d have to say first and foremost I always envisioned and planned for all that I can in life with God’s guidance. I always envisioned being a wife and mother and successful in all things I work hard at which includes fostering friendships, making a difference in the lives of others and being true to my mission to be a conductor of change and positivity. I would have to say that I have accomplished those things. Further to that I have always envisioned being a business owner. All things come to those who plan and believe and most of all have patience in the process. What do you see that the world needs today and what steps do you think should be taken to get there?
The world needs much prayer. Secondly, it needs people who are willing to take an initiative to change the world. It needs to be motivated, it needs to be inspired, it needs to bond together and it needs to socialize. I’d say, in essence the world needs The Classy Living Society, LLC. n
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Inspiring Kids to Volunteer by Brad Jamison, a Daily Point of Light Award winner and founder of Good Citizen. - See more at: http://www.pointsoflight.org/blog/2015/01/07/3-tips-inspiring-your-kids-volunteer#sthash.PrUrZTST.dpuf
Giving back to your community is a gift that gives right back, and habits and viewpoints instilled at a young age are much more likely to stick with a person than those developed later in life. Because of this, it’s great for kids to get used to the idea of being involved in their community through volunteer work and other types of service. Such involvement encourages a generous spirit and helps kids understand that their world extends beyond their own nose. Let Them Take an Active Role One great way to encourage kids to volunteer is to involve them in the process. Present them with a problem in your community that they might be interested in: other kids not getting to play sports because their family lacks to means to support it, soldiers who can’t come home to their families for Christmas, children in hospitals who are sick and might need some pick-me-ups in their lives; whateverit is you think your child will find the most connection to personally. Once you’ve presented the problem, ask what might be done to solve it. Help your child come upwith an actionable plan to help others; then enact it! Doing it this way, the child gets to take an active role in volunteering and has a connection to whatever it is you are doing. There is logic to the task and an innate sense of ownership over it. It also shows that you’re taking your child’s efforts seriously, and that they can better the world in a tangible way. Lead By Example The best way to get a kid interested in anything is to lead by example. Parents who regularly volunteer and show empathy to those in their community are much more likely to inspire the same habits in their kids than parents who aren’t involved in the community. By demonstrating your own concern and care for others, you model that behavior for your children. Additionally, this is a great way for kids to get “special” time with a parent; if you have made clear that volunteering is a part of your lifestyle, your child will naturally want to be involved in that aspect of your lifestyle. Foster Internal Motivations The real key is engagement: find a way to make your child want to participate in the community. If he/she has an internal desire to help, he/she is much more likely to follow through on helping. Whether this internal desire is spurred by connection to a social issue, ownership over a plan of action or desire to participate in a modeled lifestyle, your child will find true enrichment from giving back to others. This enrichment is a lifetime gift that keeps on giving! n
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a private member only and guest EVENT
BREAKFAST AT THE LIMITED YOU’RE INVITED TO...
An early Saturday morning filled with shopping, laughter and giving back equals SisterHood bonding at it’s best!
the limited perimeter mall atlanta, ga
Thank you to the Staff at the Limited Perimeter for welcoming CLS and for helping to provide a day of fashion, fun and giving back to our members and friends.
Event Photography by Gerald Grande of www.fortemediasite.com
n July 11th The Limited @ Perimeter opened it’s doors to the ladies of CLS for an exclusive informational breakfast. In front of a spread that was fit for royalty, our Founder & CEO LaShanda Pitts warmed the group of ladies up with an exciting welcome to current and prospective members. Following the warm welcome, Neri Slacks shared information about her organization--Dream, Live & Learn Children’s Academy. In the invitation to the event, donations of school supplies were requested and these benefitted the organization. Dream, Live & Learn Children’s Academy, LLC is an organization that is dedicated to helping children and families in need. The things that the organization provide vary from school supplies to cribs to more. If you’re interested in donating in the future, please check out their Facebook Page. Valerie “Val” Alerte Kavanaugh, EVP of Sponsorships and Vendor Relations, followed the presentation of Dream, Live & Learn Children’s Academy giving us information about the multiple opportunities that are available through Vendor Relations. Want to place an ad? Want to find a business while supporting your CLS sisters? Want to collaborate with someone? The Vendor Relations area is definitely something that you want to hold near and dear then. After we concluded the business aspect of the Classy Hour, it was time to shop--but not before a much appreciated styling presentation from some of the ladies of The Limited! Stylings featured looks that went from day to night and play to work. One of the favorite pieces was a well-tailored navy blue blazer since the nautical style is what’s currently in season. One of the presenters loved the collection so much she was sporting one of the looks that she recommended! After they shared the looks with us, it was time to shop and network--aka have
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THE FOOD. YUM!!
For more about Neri Slacks and her organization, Dream, Live & Learn Childrensâ€™s Academy, make sure to check out the Community Partner Article on pg. 26! Click here!
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lots of fun the CLS way! What better way to bond with sisters than over the delicious food that Robyn Knight Hutcherson made and great fashion at a nicely discounted price! Members of different departments within CLS met face to face and were able to share ideas, prospective members learned in the moment what attracted current members to the organization, and we were able to get honest feedback on how whatever dress or pants we were attempting to purchase looked. I.LOVED.IT. Every lady that was there walked away with something. Prospective members walked away wanting to join. Current members walked away with confirmation that they did the right thing in joining in the organization. Fashionistas walked away with bags of new styles to add to their wardrobe. Thirty ladies left feeling good about the purchases they made as they watched the prices drop on the register. Business women left with new ideas on how to get the word out about their businesses. All of us left feeling good knowing that we were able to help children in need by donating school supplies. What an awesome and fulfilling way to spend a Classy Hour on a Saturday morning! n Aaronica Bell-Cole 12
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Back to School Savings Mindset by Shynna Key, The Financial Fanatic Empowering You to Build Your Empire! www.shynnakey.com
he 2015-2016 school year is quickly approaching! Are you prepared for your scholars to go back to school fully equipped? I hope that you planned ahead so that you were able to budget, pace yourself and catch some early bird specials.
I know every child wants everything brand new, but that is not necessary if you ask me. For instance…if your child’s book bag is still in good shape from last year, don’t purchase a brand spanking new one. Let your child use the one that he/she already has from last year. Now if your child’s book bag is in bad shape, then go ahead and purchase a good quality one for about $40. A good one should last for a few years. You as the adult, have to be the one to set the tone on how things will be when it comes to spending money. Set an example on how to budget. Make budgeting fun and involve your child/ children. Now when it comes to buying certain items that you know you can use for years, I say pay good money for good quality. Sometimes buying cheap items end up costing you more money because you have to keep replacing them. These items may quickly fall apart due to poor quality. The cost of school supplies can really add up fast, especially if you have multiple children. When you do receive your child’s/children’s school supply list, do
TIPS & TRICKS 14
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something different…turn it into a scavenger hunt! Go through your house and I bet you’ll find almost everything your child needs on the list! I want you to save some major cash on even necessities. Even better, try swapping instead of buying! Visit www.swapmamas. com, which is a website that includes a section for school and office supplies. You can even connect with other moms to trade items you no longer need for supplies you can use…you won’t have to spend any money at all! Before you hit the store for school clothes, take an inventory first. Pull out clothes and shoes from last year to see what your child/children can still fit into, and then replace the things that they can no longer fit. This way you won’t break the bank. If you have multiple children, get the younger ones excited about hand-me-downs. Keep those hand-me-downs in mind when you do go shopping so that you will avoid purchasing “too trendy” or gender specific items. Last but not least…Lord forbid you’ve been going through a hardship. If you have been laid off or have had any other type of hardship and you’re unable to shop for your child/ children, ask their school counselor to see if they can sponsor your child. They may be aware of surplus school supplies that your child could use. Ask and you shall receive! Key’s Tips and Tricks 1) Be on the lookout for back to school giveaway events. 2) Be sure to make a checklist. 3) Buy based on your needs and not your wants. 4) Buy only sale items. 5) Shop the “off season”.
tips As summer comes to an end, it is now time to pack our bookbags and head back to the classroom. Back to morning buses, carpool, quizzes on Friday’s, and tons homework. As the fast routines start to approach, you should take time out to make a small checklist to ensure you have your list of back to school in the gear. 1. Create an agenda/ planner to organize events and school work 2. Label all materials/school supplies 3. Check county website to collect any in class materials each teacher may need for their class 4. Get plenty of sleep 5. Check school routes each morning to avoid traffic delays Even though those are items to help you prepare for an awesome first day, don’t forget to volunteer and give to the students less fortunate to have adequate materials for school. Finding extra book bags, pencils, paper, notebooks, and erasers, can really help a student to focus on their upcoming academic success. Check your local county listings for drop off locations to donate for back to school children near you. Now let’s get excited and send our children of Georgia back to school with a wonderful start! Sincerely, Dr. April Thomas
Frozen Fruit Cupst
A kid-frien dly healthy snack! Total Time: 10 min Prep: 10 min
Yield:12 to 14 fruit cups Level: Easy
Ingredients 4 cups frozen peaches, thawed and chopped into large chunks 2 cans mandarin oranges, drained 2 cans crushed pineapple, drained 1 can fruit cocktail, drained 6 medium firm bananas, chopped into chunks 1 small can frozen pineapple-orange juice concentrate, thawed 1/3 cup lemon juice
Directions Combine the peaches, oranges, pineapple, fruit cocktail, bananas, juice concentrate and lemon juice in a bowl and mix until combined. Place in small disposable plastic cups and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving to thaw. Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/reedrummond/frozen-fruit-cups-recipe.html CLASSY CHRONICLES DES7GNMGZ
But I’m all about preparation. I’m a firm believer in the old adage of “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” so I’ve come up with some things to make this transition from summer into school as smooth as possible. This might be old news for you seasoned parents but I hope you can get something out of this as well!
Enjoy the last days of summer As we enter the last days of summer, we’re going out with a bang. She’s been beaching it and jet-setting for most of the summer so it has been an enjoyable one but I plan on making this last week even more special so that the freshest memories are the best ones when she walks into this new, unknown world. How do you make the last week an awesome one? Relax and make it about them. As a “mompreneur”, my schedule for us is often about me since I have deadline after deadline. I’ll be taking this week off so that we can relax by the poolside, go to the Aquarium, head to Chattanooga, do whatever it is she’d like to do including giving her extra snuggles. But make the last week about them. 16
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Stop cr ying, Mom!
It’s Back to School Time! It’s crazy how time flies when you’re having fun--or you’re so busy raising your littles that when you finally have a chance to breathe it’s time for them to start school. That’s where I am now. I’m a mom of 2 beautiful and rambunctious little girls that are growing up too fast. My oldest is 5 and starting kindergarten this fall and I’m literally in awe of how the time has flown. It seems like it was just yesterday she was taking her first steps and now I’m getting ready to walk her into real.life.school. No more daycare. No more Montessori. This is real-deal grade school. I think I’m more nervous about this than she is but as I talk to other moms I’m learning that for us first-timers, this is the norm.
it is she’d like “toDodo whatever including extra snuggles.
Do the “generic” school shopping without them I’ve learned that a lot has changed since I was in school. Our school shopping lists were filled with things that WE as the student needed--not the classroom. I got mini’s school shopping list and we had to bring a lot of things for the classroom. Instead of dragging her through the store and debating what to get, I did all of that myself. She picked out her notebooks, backpack and lunchbox since those things we were given the creative flexibility for. Because mommy is creative, we’ve designed the covers of her notebooks to make them more personal to her. Begin to implement the new schedule prior to the first day. I’ve always been grateful that my oldest believes in sleep. Like she’ll sleep till 9-10am. Lovely really. Except when you have to be at school functioning at 7am. So although during the last week of summer we’ll be having even more fun, we’ll also be practicing our new schedule so that come first day of school, we’re ready to go and not running late. I have to admit that this is more of a parent thing. I have fond memories of my mom yelling at me to wake up and get out of the bed until my last day of high school. It was those chilling memories that haunted me as a college student but I digress…
didn’t do this for me but as an adult, I would love to look back at pictures or memories like this. For mini, I have the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” ready for her kindergarten teacher to sign at the end of the year. I’ll be having all of her teacher’s sign it and gifting it to her on her graduation day from high school so she’ll always have those memories. Some other ideas are to stick a note and $20 in an envelope every year and gift that to them or the pictures of the first vs last day and create an album. Ideas are endless. Join the Facebook group for your child’s school PTA if they have one Ours has one that I’ve joined and have already connected with some other kindergarten parents. I’m SUPER shy (unbelievable, I know) and really anxious so this has helped mama soothe her nerves as I prepare my baby for her first day. They have also been a great point of reference for school information. As a child I loved school and I want the same for my girls. I plan on using these tips as we gear up for the new year and hope that you’re able to find them useful as well! Good luck! n Aaronica Bell-Cole
If this is your first child going to school, do something special that will travel with them until they go to college I know you’ve seen the cute pictures of the “First Day” and “Last Day” of whatever grade they’re entering/finishing. My parents CLASSY CHRONICLES DES7GNMGZ
Summer, the warmest season of the year is a time that people generally associate with carefree and fun activities. To that end, Community Outreach has kept CLSâ€™ summer activities easy breezy and supported organizations through a number of volunteer efforts designed to support worthy causes while staying fit, enjoying the outdoors. Over the past month we volunteered with the Atlanta Track Club at Turner Field for the annual Braves Country 5K Race. This family friendly event offers ways for the entire family to stay fit and live healthy. There was something for everyone, including a One Mile Fun Run and Kilometer Kids Dash. We had a great time and a common theme noticed by all volunteers was how appreciative all of the event participants were to those of us working in support of the event. On July 18, 2015, CLS had the pleasure of being able to serve as water station volunteers at the 11th Annual Pink Ribbon Walk sponsored by Sisters By
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Choice. On this beautiful morning our ladies gathered to cheer women forward (some men) supporting the cause as they walked for family, friends, loved ones and even themselves standing up and walking strong to fight breast cancer! Weâ€™re not done yet! Are you looking for a fun way to burn off a few extra calories or stay motivated with your fitness program? CLS will continue to participate in a number of charity walks throughout the Metro Atlanta area as we help organizations raise money by walking to fight causes such as Autism, homelessness, female genital mutilation, AIDS, breast cancer and more. 2015 has been filled with #MakingaDifference for CLS and we have no plans to slow down now! Come out and join us as we continue to engage in sisterhood-bonding while giving back to our community!
About Atlanta Track Club Atlanta Track Club is a member-based nonprofit centered around running; and is committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta through world-class events, training programs, and community outreach activities. With more than 21,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. http://www.atlantatrackclub.org About Sisters By Choice Sisters By Choice is a breast cancer organization who is committed to addressing the disparities surrounding breast cancer. Started in 2005 the Annual Pink Ribbon walk has grown tremendously over the years. All proceeds from the race will go towards helping with the funding of Sisters By Choice Mobile Breast Clinic. This mobile breast clinic will travel throughout the state of Georgia to help medically underserved men and women gain access to quality breast care. http://www.sistersbychoice.org
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Bowling& Bonding Am I My Sister’s Keeper?! Absolutely!
This was the answer given by members of Classy Living Society after CLS member Tiffany Kelly recently lost her home due to an accidental fire. Fortunately, there were no injuries; however, material possessions were lost. In true CLS fashion, the ladies surrounded Tiffany with love and support at The Painted Pin for an evening of sisterhood bonding, bowling, food, spirits, and fun! Tiffany, still in high spirits, was overcome with tears by the show of support she received from her CLS sisters. She was presented with a beautiful gift basket on behalf of the organization that was filled with memorable keepsakes and items for Tiffany to indulge in some much needed and deserved pampering that would serve as a “starter kit” as she transitions into her new home. The night was full of strikes and gutter balls, a live band and dancing; and of course hugs, laughter and support. Another opportunity to bond with fellow members, Classy Living Society, exhibited the consistent tone of sisterhood and always being around to support its members. n Eboni Brown
just wanna “girls have FUN!
Tiffany Kelly, The Mind, Body, and Power Coach
Our very own Tiffany Kelly is also the author of “Lady of Power: 31 Mind, Body, & Power Inspirations to Empower You on Your Weight Loss Journey. This book inspires and motivates women to make a decision to live a healthier lifestyle so that they can live the life God intended for them. www. loosethepowerwithin.com
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member spotlight: Rashida Patterson
Do we only measure our success by our accomplishments? Is the journey as important as reaching the destination? Ask Rashida Empowerment Coach Patterson! She knows what it takes to truly follow and achieve your dreams. Rashida was born in Detroit, Michigan and was the oldest of six children. Her family relocated to South Georgia after her mother accepted a job at the Georgia State Prison. Rashida was only nine years old but she remembers that those were some of the best years of her childhood. When Rashida was fourteen, her mother remarried and the family moved to Atlanta. Thatâ€™s when Rashidaâ€™s world was turned upside down and the challenges really began. She felt like an outcast as she was not accepted by her peers. Rashida had large keloid scars on her ears. By 22
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the time she was fifteen, she had already gone through two surgeries on her ears. Rashida remembers people being very mean to her and treating her like she had a disease. It made her life almost unbearable. Even though she was young, her struggle was real! Rashida married and had her first child at the age of 19. Tragedy struck and she became a widow by the age of 20. She was left to care for her eleven month old son on her own. As a young woman, she dealt with the tragic loss of her husband. Suddenly…she was a young widow. Rashida does remember that she did have the support of her family and she was grateful for the help. But she eventually remembers dealing with severe stress and depression. Rashida had two more surgeries on her ears and her more recent surgery brought a measure of success. Once again, she was grateful. Rashida also dealt with another issue…the color of her skin. Her skin tone was extremely light and she heard a lot of name calling throughout her childhood. She just couldn’t believe that people could be so cruel to her. But after all was said and done, Rashida didn’t let what people thought of her or how they treated her change her heart. She always felt and knew that she had something special. That feeling helped to keep Rashida focused and on her journey to becoming the woman she is today. She is determined to make a difference in this world and wants to show others that acting out of love…with a genuine heart, is the first step to changing the world, one person at a time. What excites you most about being part of CLS? I think the most exciting part of being a member of CLS is being around positive, loving and supportive women. I love the energy I feel when I’m with my Classy Ladies! Also giving back to the community brings so much joy to my heart. I am truly a giver and I love helping others.
How is CLS helping you achieve your own personal goals? I’m able to network with other women in the organization and this helps me to build my brand and get my name out there. Being spotlighted in the Classy Chronicles is a great opportunity for me as I’m a Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and an Inspiring Writer. CLS provides me the opportunity to share some of my inspirational thoughts with my classy sisters. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced on your journey? Yes…I have had some challenges as I was diagnosed with Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Intestinal Cystitis at the end of 2014. These diseases cause me a great deal of pain and chronic fatigue at any given time. I went to several different doctors and had numerous emergency room visits for over ten years. This really put a dent in my finances. It often seemed like the doctors thought I was crazy and they acted like I was making my symptoms up. I became depressed and more frustrated because I couldn’t understand why I was sick or why I was always in pain. My friends and family just didn’t understand what I was going through. On top of that…having a true relationship was simply out of the question. My friends would make jokes about it. They’d ask “are you a bubble child or what?” Anyway…a lot of times, doing simple tasks are not so simple for me. But when you see me, I have a smile on my face. The diseases I have may slow me down but I don’t let them stop me. I know God is using me to make a difference in this world and I hope that my testimony inspires others to not give up. I may bend but I won’t break. What opportunities do you expect to open up for you this year? expect to be overflowing with opportunities this year because I know that 2015 is my season. I’ve been planting my seeds and I’m just waiting on the harvest to blossom. I live a favor-minded life. This means that I walk in God’s favor and I speak the life I desire into existence. I am a firm believer in Ask, Believe and Receive! I am focused on building my empire and encouraging others to live the life they too desire. I believe everything we want is waiting for us to take ownership. I know that God will do what He says He’s going to do. We must continue to have faith!
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What do you feel are some of the advantages of belonging to CLS? CLS provides the opportunity to go out and serve the community in many ways. I always dreamed of operating my own non-profit organization geared towards women and children. I know God placed me where I needed to be. When our Founder, LaShanda Pitts; reached out to me, I was so excited to join CLS. I knew I would learn from her as well as have a chance to give back to society. Being around like minded women also continues to be a plus. Think of four words you could use to describe CLS. Let’s see…my four words would be Classy, Inspiring, Generous and Powerful. I look forward to the growth of CLS. It’s so exciting to know that we will be in all 50 states soon and it feels good to be part of something this great! “CLS Take Over…Yes!” What motivated you to start your own business? I always knew I wasn’t designed for the typical 9-5 and as a child; I always had visions of living a fabulous lifestyle. Honestly, I wanted to be a model and an actress. But I never acted on that desire. As I got older and worked several jobs that didn’t appeal to me and I began to think that maybe I should own my own business. My family and friends thought that I should open a restaurant because I’m so passionate about cooking. And let me say… my food is amazing! But I didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen and I kept making all kinds of excuses. Many years later I began to have health issues and I didn’t work for three years. That just wasn’t the typical me because I’d always worked. After a year of looking for a job and beating myself up, I asked God for guidance. I’d spent a year or so coaching one of my best friends concerning a difficult situation that was occurring in her life. Other young ladies always looked up to me and came to me for guidance as well. So one day while I was meditating, God led me to the vision of Life Coaching and Energy healing. I began to study these areas along with the Law of Attraction. I took the required courses to get certified and I did a lot of reading on spirituality and self help. Not only have I found my purpose and passion, but I’m doing what I love. I’m making money, getting ready to travel around the world speaking about the Law of Attraction and I’m a Life coach to those in need. Are you where you want to be at this stage of your life? I’m not quite there as far as my goals and dreams being met right now but I know I’m on the right path. I am enjoying every step of the journey. My dreams are coming to pass! Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself healthy and full of energy. I see my Life Coaching and Speaking practice becoming very successful with an overflow of business opportunities coming my way. The book that I’m in the process of writing will be flying off the shelves. I see my name no longer being just a signature, it will be an autograph. Yes…won’t He do
it!! What do you feel influenced you the most in getting to where you are today? I know that I can do all things through my Heavenly Father. He has given me my vision and has revealed my purpose to me. God supplies everything I need to help me on my journey. You see…when you have a burning desire for something and you’re clear on what you want; the universe that God created supplies you with the right people, tools and opportunities. What do you see as your greatest achievement so far? Other than my beautiful children, I feel my greatest achievement has been overcoming all the road blocks put in my path and having the courage to keep pushing forward. Even when the journey may not be going my way, I believe in myself and I have faith in God. I know that as long as I stay in alignment with what I ask for, my dreams will no longer be just dreams but they will become my reality. I am writing my own script and I am living my life on purpose with God’s favor. Rashida…what makes you unique? I just feel like I can’t be duplicated. I’m a one and only! I’ve been through a heck of a roller-coaster ride to become the woman I am today. It hasn’t been an easy journey for me and I’m still learning and working at being the “best me!!” I always knew that in order to help change the world, I had to start with the person in the mirror…me! I’m working on being in alignment with my true, authentic self every day…my Godly self. I want to set the best example of how to act towards others coming from a place of love. What else might we be surprised to know about you? You might be surprised to know that I’m an adventurous person and I have a “wild side”. Most people who really don’t know me assume that I’m serious all the time. I’m really quite down to earth. I can be quiet…it just takes me a minute to come out of my shell. How would someone describe you? People, who know me, describe me as intriguing, inspiring, humble and very generous. What do you do when you’re not volunteering or working? I enjoy cooking, traveling, spending time with my family and reading. But it does seem like I’m always working. My vision for my business keeps me very busy. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you? Did you know that my name…Rashida…means to guide in the straight path or rightly guided? I always knew I had a gift and that gift is my passion to guide others on a straight path. I can be quiet and a little shy at times, but don’t let that fool you. Once I begin to speak on a subject that I’m passionate about, you will not forget the conversation. I also have a passion for cooking! If you’ve ever tasted any of my dishes, then you know I’m the “real deal” in the kitchen. n Avis Pitts
Rashida is a Life/Empowerment Coach and motivation is her ministry. She sincerely believes that we can have anything we want if we are willing to give up the belief that we can’t have it. Rashida knows that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams! You can follow her on Facebook (RashidaPatterson Life Coach), Twitter (Lifecoachpatt27), and Instagram (Iamrashidapatterson). Rashida Empowerment Coach Patterson’s motto…TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK!!!! 24
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YOUR AD HERE www.cls-volunteer.org/#!advertise/c2203
Dream, Live & Learn Children’s Academy
e can all attest to fantasizing and creating “when I grow up” stories as kids. Most of those stories consisted of a significant other, children, and fancy careers. For Neri Gaulden Slacks, her dream was to have a big family, at least ten children. Of course Mother Nature rejected the idea but destiny gave her just what she asked for and more. After losing her son, Neri fell into a slump, she was angry! However, a simple gesture of love offered by her daughter saying, “Mommy I don’t mind sharing you, because God has answered your prayers” gave Neri the boost she needed to keep going. After three years of planning, revising and planning a little more, Dream, Live & Learn Children’s Academy, Inc. was born. Dream, Live & Learn Children’s Academy, Inc. (DLLCA) is an organization catered to youth awarded to the state, at-risk teen, as well as those neglected or abused. DLLCA also assists homeless families establish shelter. They help each person they encounter with living life according to their personal vison and goals. Speaking of goals, Dream, Live & Learn Children’s Academy is now entering its second phase. During this phase, they will provide a professional quality based, supervised independent living program for youth transitioning from the foster care system into adulthood. These young adults will learn about the responsibilities associated with housing, finances and other basic necessities. Through collaboration 26
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with other organizations, DLLCA will provide job readiness as well as budgeting trainings. After completion, participants will display the proper understanding to successfully live on their own. Although Neri reaches these individuals in a special way, they reach her in an even greater way! Because of their strength and conviction to persevere, she found the desire to obtain her college degree. Speaking with Neri, desire was seen in her eyes and conveyed through her words. She is truly following her destiny. Her goal isn’t selfish or money driven, it’sit is change driven. The following questions were asked during the interview:
If you had to give a brief synopsis of Neri Gaulden Slacks, what would you say?
Neri is a beautifully powerful, dedicated, loveable woman of God.
To listen in register online at http://www.cls-volunteer.org/#!advertise/c22o3 DES7GNMGZ
She believes in her children and will go beyond measures to ensure her children reach their greatest potential. She believes in all of her children, she believes in herself and refuses to give up on either.
How long have you been a member of CLS and what prompted you to join?
I have been a member of CLS for 14 months. I joined after seeing how much bigger LaShanda’s heart was than herself. Meeting LaShanda was truly a blessing and everything I needed and desired was found within the sisterhood of CLS.
Where do you see the organization in five years?
Within the next five years, DLLCA will provide residential housing for families as well as a daycare facility for individuals incapable of paying the high fees associated with childcare. Eventually, DLLCA will also secure at least ten buildings used to house homeless families and reduce the homeless rate of the youth.
What was/is your support system like?
My support system is amazing! A special thanks I given to God because without him, I wouldn’t be here. I must also extend appreciation to Dr. Nia and the McDonough Family Dentistry because of their awesome support.
Did you ever feel like it wasn’t going to work out? How did you make it happen?
Yes, it seemed like I couldn’t get the right members to support and love my vision. However, I made it happen by doing it on my own and praying. God has finally put all the pieces together and I can see so much progress.
What are some of your sacrifices?
My greatest sacrifice was getting a divorce because of my passion to help others. As time prevailed, I learned that I couldn’t stop caring, loving and assisting others. My passion was truly in the betterment of others.
Do you have any upcoming events?
Several events are coming up. In February 2016, I’ve partnered with Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, Inc. to create a Sweetheart Dinner for the homeless. We are also organizing a charity praise dance called “Battles to the Beats”, praising God through dance. This will take place in March 2016 at North Atlanta High School. Various churches’ youth dance teams have been invited to participate.
What is your most memorable event?
My most memorable moment was one day during church service. I looked over at the children and many of them were crying. I was unsure why and after asking I was blown away. They looked at me and told me how much they appreciated my dedication and never giving up on them. They actually said thank you for my tough love. At that moment I wanted to cry.
What is something you wish you had known in the beginning?
I wish I had known that everyone who speaks of making a change isn’t sincere. Everyone doesn’t have the heart to follow through with their vision therefore following through on someone else’s is found to be a 28
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challenge. Also, before picking board members, it is essential too they share both your vision and love. 10
What is something you will never forget that you learned the hard way?
Something I will never forget is to never allow others to stop my dream or discourage me from creating my vision. 11
What advice would you offer to someone currently pursuing their dream?
I would tell them to avoid failure as an option; follow their heart and make their dream a reality. 12
What type of change has DLLCA had on your life? What has it impacted most?
Dream, Live & Learn has taught me to love and smile through pain. It has taught me that I can do anything I put my heart and mind to. More than anything, it has impacted my life and those I come into contact with. 13
Is there anything you would like to add?
UPCOMING EVENTS Guns & Glam (Member Only) August 2015
Private Member Only Plus Guest Event September 2015
CLS Boutique October 2015
Red Dress Gala November 2015
In closing, I would just like to say that my children have not only kept me on my toes but they are the reason I went back to college. I love all of them more than they could ever dream of. Dream, Live & Learn Children’s Academy is an organization built on a dream created as a child. Through life, Neri learned that her vision could be painted using nontraditional canvas enhanced by empathetic strokes of love. It’s been said that we fight our greatest battles to give others a reason to keep going! Neri Gaulden Slacks is a perfect example of defeat, rewarded daily through the lives of others. A very small woman in statue yet big in heart! Neri is our CLS Community Spotlight! www.facebook.com/DLLCAATL n Kimmie Lampkin
THE CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY NEEDS YOUR HELP. As we work diligently to make a difference in the lives of others within the Atlanta, Georgia area, we are asking to find it in your hearts to donate to the movement. CLS’s continues to push forward in an effort to help those within our communities which are less fortunate and are in need of a helping hand. Your donations will allow for our “Foot Soldiers” to give back to others who otherwise would be neglected. By partnering with CLS and making a donation, you are taking a stand and helping to make a difference! Go ahead... make a difference today and let your actions speak volumes and please remember that no donation is too small.
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CLS oi n J IGNITING
CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY www.cls-volunteer.org DES7GNMGZ
Published on Jul 31, 2015
Published on Jul 31, 2015
Inside this Classy Issue... You'll find out why CLS is the organization to follow... This issue includes inspiring stories, heartfelt conve...