l u f i t u a e B Survivor YEAR END GIVING Socialize. Volunteer. Inspire.
FOUNDERâ€™S NOTE by LaShanda Pitts
It’s the end of the year already! It is amazing how quickly the year has flown by; it seems that the older we get, the faster time goes. I can vividly remember this time last year, as if it were just a couple of months ago. During the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, time slips away, and somehow we just don’t have time to do the things we vowed we would do. Next year I’m going to do better. We all say it - next year is going to be different. We set high level goals of achievement for ourselves and have good intentions on following through with them. We end the year making solemn promises to ourselves that we will be better, do better. We will get up from couch and exercise more, lose weight and eat healthier foods. We are eager to begin changing our emotional selves by improving our mindset and outlook. We strive to become better friends to our friends and improve our romantic relationships, careers and finances.
But take a moment to think about it -aren’t some or all of these the very things you vowed to do the year before? How did it go? Were you successful or did you fail? Let’s say you failed, and now you feel defeated. You are beating yourself up for not achieving your goals or making meaningful progress. By not making the changes you’ve committed to do, you’ve done a huge about face in your life. Well, I say no more about FACE...I say it’s about FAITH! This year, take that leap of faith! Go easy on yourself -- set attainable goals so as not to set yourself up for failure. Take the first step and you will find yourself on your way to accomplishing all of those things you only vowed to do before. Find joy and peace in “doing” and that will leave you feeling refreshed, renewed and fulfilled. I say spend 2018 loving yourself, because after all it’s about TIME. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to All! Founder and CEO
Contents 06 EDITORâ€™S NOTE
HOPE THRU SOAP
28 MY THREE SICKLERS
Editor in Chief
Janine Lattimore Creative Director
12 AROMATIC HUGS
LaShanda Pitts Contributing Writers
Janine Lattimore Avis Pitts Bea Shaw LaShanda Pitts Photography
Jason Brydsell Magazine Design
THE 4TH ANNUAL RED DRESS GALA
48 CLASSY LIVING SOCIETYâ€™S HOLIDAY EVENT
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EDITOR’S NOTE By Janine Lattimore ‘Tis the Season To…. The holiday season is in full swing! O, what a festive time of year it is! Parties, dinners, celebrations, gift giving, decorating, hugs and love! It is also the end of the year - a time of reflection on the year gone by, and anticipation of the year ahead. 2018! So, while you’re eating and dancing and partying and decorating, ‘tis the season to...
Give Back. One of my favorite holiday quotes is “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love” - Hamilton Wright Mabie. Let us be mindful of those less fortunate in our communities. How wonderful would it be to write a letter to someone far away from home in the military; or visit a lonely senior citizen in a nursing home! What a sublime joy it would be to adopt a family and make a child’s wishes come true on Christmas Day! Or serve up a smile and a hot meal at a local church or soup kitchen! Think of ways you can carry out random acts of kindness during the holiday season. Who knows...it may become a habit!
Get in Touch. Find ways to deepen your spiritual connection. Establish a space in your home where you will be undisturbed by others or noise. Set aside at least an hour a day, get into that space...and listen, meditate, take deep breaths, read inspirational passages, etc. Use this time for you and your connection with your Creator. I guarantee you will receive a helpful/hopeful message and peace of mind as you go into your day!
Love Your Loved Ones More.. I lost my mother this year, and although I had her in my life for over five decades, I wish I had more time. It’s virtually impossible to know how many hugs and kisses you have to give to say you’ve sufficiently loved on someone in a lifetime. But now is a good time to start a plan of “Enumerable Acts of Love” with your family and friends. Call and visit more often. Hug more often. And, by golly, make sure you tell them that you love them!
Solidify Your Goals. You know that thing you keep saying you’re going to do? The time is now to do it! Write down: your dreams and goals, your talents and gifts, what you are passionate about. Don’t waste your gifts and talents share them with the world! Solidify your goals and plans and just do it! Teach your children to do the same.
Be Intentional. If you’re not going to be intentional, why do it at all? Make the decision to live powerfully - to embrace the you that you are; your thoughts, attitudes, personality. Embrace clean living - eat well, exercise, practice self-care, protect your mental/spiritual health. Make the decision now to do everything on purpose.
Not everyone makes New Year’s resolutions - I know I don’t. But that doesn’t mean you go into the new year without at least one or two things you’d like to refresh or change in your life. A new year presents 365 new opportunities for you to do something BIG - ‘tis the season to begin creating what that will look like!
CLS TRAVELS Sunglasses? Check! Swimsuit? Check! Sundresses? Check! Floppy Hat? Check! Sandals? Check! Classy Living Society is going to the beautiful beaches of Santa Barbara, California in August 2018! CLS Travels presents a luxury journey to one of California’s most popular vacation and resort destinations and it is an open-to-the-public event! If you have ever attended an outing or trip organized by CLS, you already know this trip will be nothing less than first-class! Read on for all of the juicy details about this five-star experience: Centrally located along the Pacific Coast of California, Santa Barbara is known for its beautiful beaches, tourist attractions and resorts. With the Santa Ynez Mountains rising in view in the distance, the tranquil waters of the Pacific Ocean within reach, and a warm summer climate likened to that of the Mediterranean, Santa Barbara is truly a wonderful choice – a place to relax, revive, rejuvenate and replenish during our CLS Travels retreat. 8
Santa Barbara has so much to offer – museums, beautiful Spanish architecture, wineries, biking and hiking trails, hundreds of restaurants and shops, whale watching, sunset cruises and more! Something for everybody! To provide a special treat and go beyond the standard tourist experience, CLS is offering The Santa Barbara Party Package, which includes a Welcome Reception, private cruise along the coast, winery hopping and dinner on the beach including a cozy bonfire. Santa Barbara is also the home of Oprah Winfrey -- who knows! You may even experience an Oprah sighting! Through a special giving-back mission, CLS will be partnering with local non-profit organizations to extend our reach as foot soldiers in the community to the Santa Barbara area. In keeping with our responsibility to be the change we want to see in the world, we will be assisting those organizations in furthering their worthy causes in the areas of girl/women empowerment, domestic violence, homelessness and human trafficking to name a few. For more information on how you can become a part of this special CLS expedition to beautiful Santa Barbara, California, visit the CLS Travels link at www.clstravels.com.
CONCESSIONAIRE SPOTLIGHT Vanessa Parker Entrepreneur, Mother, Wife, Foodie and One Crazy Busy Woman . . . Hi! My name is Vanessa Parker. I am a startup business coach, speaker, and one bad ass mompreneur. With over 10 years of experience in building, losing it all and starting all over again, I promised myself that I would not glamorize entrepreneurship. My mission and purpose is to equip women to use their passions and skills to generate an income that will allow them the flexibility to do what they love every day. Being a boss is not a one size fits all formula. You can be a boss building a side hustle, a career woman or working as a full-time entrepreneur. PinkBoss is an online resource to help navigate the waters of entrepreneurship. We do this by highlighting other Bosses and sharing their stories of success. If you are looking for a business coach to help you launch your idea to a sustainable business Iâ€™d love to work with you!
EDITOR’S NOTE Recently Vanessa and her husband’s company Divas in Defense travelled to Kuwait to teach women how to defend themselves! Divas in Defense, a defensive training group designed for women, was started by Vanessa’s husband and brother-in-law with an aim toward educating and empowering women around the world by drastically reducing violence against women. During the extended excursion to Kuwait, Divas in Defense led 27 training classes, taught over 600 women and girls from over 32 nationalities! Talk about spreading worldwide Girl Power…!
AROMATIC HUGS Stephanie Ingram Founded by owner Stephanie Ingram, Aromatic Hugs Bath, Body & Spa Products Inc. specializes in handmade soaps, bath and spa products. Other products offered include body scrubs, bath bombs, bath teas, body soufflés and more made from the finest, natural, healthiest ingredients available. With the exception of their African Black Soap, Aromatic Hugs makes all products in house to ensure they are always fresh and of the highest quality. Stephanie Ingram is an Atlanta native and has three years’ experience in the handmade soap and bath products industry. Her knowledge and passion for essential oils, herbs, and botanicals developed in 1995, when her mother began searching for holistic natural cures for her health challenges. After the death of her mother in 1996, she continued to study natural and holistic living independently, and decided to seek an aromatherapies license. Although the certification studies are almost complete, her personal research and education of the naturals continue. Before deciding to take her passion from hobby to business, she first began creating products for personal use, and as gifts for family and friends. Now, she uses her expertise to develop products for the use and enjoyment of her customer base.
Stephanie Ingram Aromatic Hugs www.aromatichugs.com www.facebook.com/aromatichugs 12
ASK ERICA Understanding Grief and Loss How to Cope and Move Forward
Loss is something we have all encountered at some point in our lives: the death of a loved one, divorce, a broken friendship or business partnership, job loss, or loss of our personal possessions due to a catastrophic event etc. Loss can come in all areas of our lives; the key is learning how to cope with it and continue to manage your day-to-day function. It can be a struggle, especially when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Personally, I experienced a great deal of loss of loved ones from an early age. When I was 15 years old, my classmate and dear friend died after a battle with sickle cell anemia. I lost my father at age 12, and my mother at age 19. I was forced to learn how to cope with loss at a young age, and while difficult, it ultimately shaped me into the woman I am today. Furthermore, since I discovered how to cope with loss in a positive way, I am equipped with the ability to help others who have experienced loss. To understand loss and grief, one must understand the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There is no order to experiencing the stages of grief and some people may experience some or all - of the stages.
Learning how to cope with loss requires the use of several tools -- I like to call it my “Toolset for Distress.” A toolset may consist of: friends who can provide support, a journal to write down thoughts, the use of prayer and meditation when guidance from a higher power is needed, or a professional counselor or therapist with whom to talk about feelings of loss. Without the use of such a toolset, loss can be overwhelming; leading to loss of interest in activities, irregular sleep patterns, loss of appetite, and the inability to manage or return to normal activities. These behaviors can further lead to major depression, anxiety, acute stress disorder, and adjustment disorder, which would then require the assistance of a healthcare professional. I have over 10 years of clinical experience in dealing with loss and grief, mood and anxiety disorders. I am readily available to assist anyone who needs someone to talk to about their loss and assist with processing the stages of grief. After all, I am one source in your “Toolset for Distress.”
Erica Hudson, PhD, LPC, NCC, CPCS Women Recovery and Counseling Services, LLC 2801 Buford Highway Suite 501 Atlanta, GA 30329 404-926-6311 firstname.lastname@example.org *Meeting the Needs of Women and Adolescent Girls* 15
COMMUNITY OUTREACH by Bea Shaw Since the Summer, community activities were plentiful for Classy Living Society members. From honoring our military service men and women (and experiencing a mini military boot camp) to collecting towels to walking to bring awareness to breast cancer to helping with the distribution of toys for children at Christmas, CLS members have been quite busy in the community. Read on about Classy Living Society’s most recent activities.
Caps for a Cause ATTENTION! FORWARD MARCH! On Saturday, August 12, 2017, CLS presented Caps for a Cause at an Atlanta area park. The mission: paying homage to the real ambassadors of America - our military service men and women! The day was filled with powerful and informative real talk from two seasoned female Army officers, a delicious lunch and sisterhood bonding. The classy sisters wrote inspirational letters and donated fun items to send to the troops -- Frisbees, playing cards, M&M peanut candies and other goodies. CLS sisters also had the privilege of learning how to do a proper salute and participated in actual drills led by the two guest officers. It was quite an honor for CLS to salute the troops for the day. Whether at home or abroad, the United States military deserves recognition and honor for their dedication, hard work, patriotism and keeping our country safe!
Care for Aids Atlanta Hunger Project Imagine taking part in an event in which 1,000 people from your community banded together in the fight against world hunger! On August 19, CLS members partnered with CARE for AIDS and other members of the Atlanta community at the Georgia World Congress Center for the Atlanta Hunger Project. Standing along tables and working side-by-side, the CLS ladies hand packed a whopping 250,000 meals! Nutritious foods and an extra dose of love were packed in boxes and were shipped to Nairobi and Kenya where they will be distributed to families affected by HIV/AIDS in those areas. CARE for AIDS works with parents affected by HIV/AIDS in East Africa by empowering them to continue to thrive – physically, spiritually and economically - and by assisting them in raising and educating their children. It was an honor and a privilege for CLS to participate in this monumental experience – making a difference in the lives of families that live many miles away.
MTS 2nd Annual Kickball Tournament Sponsorship The MTS Sickle Cell Foundation kicked off its 2nd Annual Kickball Tournament on September 2 at Rum Creek Park in Jonesboro, Georgia and Classy Living Society has the honor of being an official sponsor of the event! MTS (My Three Sicklers) Sickle Cell Foundation was founded by MapillarDahn, the mother of three beautiful daughters who are each affected by the Sickle Cell disease. Proceeds from the kickball event will benefit MTS to aid in its continuing quest to bring awareness to the Sickle Cell Disease.
PGA Tour Championship Volunteer Effort On September 23, the ladies of CLS headed out to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta to assist Atlanta Growing Leadership of Women (Atlanta GLOW) in their fundraising effort at the PGA Tour Championship. The ladies were in charge of running the concession stands at the Tournament and a percentage of the funds raised through the sale of food and refreshments were donated directly to Atlanta GLOW. Atlanta GLOW is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission it is to encourage, educate and equip young, low-income women to be thriving, self-sustaining leaders and effective agents of economic growth within their communities. The organization serves young women, 14-25 years old, that live in underserved communities within the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. Through the Tour Championship’s past philanthropic efforts, Atlanta GLOW has been a proud recipient of nearly $2,000 in fundraising dollars towards their mission in the past two years. 18
Classy Living Society Towel Drive On Saturday, October 14, Classy Living Society sponsored a Towel Drive to benefit Atlanta area’s mobile shower unit Hope thru Soap. The event was a phenomenal success! Hope thru Soap provided haircuts, hope, and a hot shower and CLS provided a meal of hot dogs, chips and water plus toiletry kits and, of course, towels! Over 200 towels were collected! Thanks to everyone who participated in the towel collection and in making this heartwarming day with the homeless a success!
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk Classy Living Society put on their walking shoes and participated in the Making Strides of Atlanta Breast Cancer Walk on October 21. The walk began at Suntrust Park in Cobb County, Georgia - the newly constructed Home of the Atlanta Braves - and the CLS team was there in full force. It was a beautiful fall Saturday morning, and the blue sky provided the perfect backdrop for the sea of pink, the emblematic color that represents the fight against breast cancer. The CLS ladies marched in solidarity with those who walked in memory of family members or friends who passed on from breast cancer and with symbolic victory fists raised in the air for those who are survivors! The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks raise awareness and funds to save lives from breast cancer. Each event is a noncompetitive 3 to 5 mile walk to raise money to fund innovative research, provide free information and support, and to help people reduce their breast cancer risk or find it early when it’s most treatable. CLS is passionate about bringing awareness to, and finding a cure for, breast cancer. By walking with this worthwhile organization, they helped to “make strides” against breast cancer! 19
Paul D. West Middle School Classy Living Society has adopted Paul D. West Middle School in East Point, Georgia. Under the administration of Principal, Dr. Darrell Stephens, Paul D. West Middle School is a professional learning community dedicated and committed to building the future - one student at a time, bridging the gap between the school and community, and bonding together to achieve a primary goal, which is student success. It is CLS’ goal to assist in this endeavor - providing support to the school’s staff and parents and aiding in the student success. On November 9, CLS members volunteered at a parent movie night and on November 30, LaShanda Pitts, Founder of CLS and her mother delivered 30 turkeys to the school. The turkeys will be donated to families in need during this holiday season. Stay tuned for more news on CLS’ volunteer efforts at Paul D. West Middle School!
Career Day Classy Living Society is dedicated to professional growth of our young children! Cleveland Elementary School, a STEM school, hosted College and Career Motivation Week (CCMW). The primary goal of CCMW is to encourage and motivate students to do well in school and to start preparing for college and their future careers TODAY! CCMW includes a wide range of age-appropriate activities, including Dress for Success Day, Career Day, First Responders/Military Personnel Day, and College Spirit Day. One of the most important CCMW activities are the Guest Speaker Presentations that provide exposure from a wide range of career professions and entrepreneurial opportunities to the children. CLS members participated in Career Day on November 15th, sharing knowledge and real experiences as they rotated through classrooms with small groups of elementary school students. The day was extremely rewarding for all who participated.
Adopt a Block Classy Living Society believes in creating measurable ripples of positive change through community service. Creating visible signs of our commitment in society is key to our growth and ability to demonstrate that we are serious about our mission to make change in the world. We are adopting roads and engaging in active clean-up efforts, starting with our first two home chapters of Savannah and Atlanta. As demonstrated by these chapters over the past several months, during clean-up and finally adoption of these roads, CLS is intentional in our efforts to keep our environments safe and clean.
Adopt a Street Savannah: Jefferson Street Adopt-A-Street is a litter control program sponsored by the City of Savannah and Keep Savannah Beautiful, to attract public involvement in picking up litter along City thoroughfares. Litter along City streets has reached an epidemic stage. Keeping the streets of Savannah clear of litter has proven to be a very time consuming and extremely expensive operation for the City of Savannah. Through such adoption, CLS accepted the responsibility of controlling the litter problem within that section of street. In addition, CLS will develop a functional plan that will influence and encourage the public to improve the appearance of their adopted street, plan for general cleanup eight times a year, assist Keep Savannah Beautiful in securing media coverage for the program, coordinate with the City’s personnel and Keep Savannah Beautiful to carry out the plan. CLS completed the requirements and has adopted Jefferson Street in Savannah.
Adopt a Road Gwinnett: Paper Mill Road Similar to Savannah, The Adopt-a-Road litter prevention initiative, sponsored by Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and Gwinnett County Department of Transportation, enables citizens to show their pride in Gwinnett and safely reduce the amount of unsightly trash and illegal signage alongside county roadways. Unkempt communities are more likely to have increased crime, decreased economic growth and a decline in quality of life. The litter prevention efforts of the Adopt-a-Road program directly benefit the community through litter prevention, greater civic involvement, and area beautification which CLS is committed to and supports. CLS completed all requirements of the program and has adopted Paper Mill Road in Gwinnett County
Letters of Support “We Rise by Lifting Others” ~ Robert Ingersoll In countries affected by conflict and war, Women for Women International supports the most marginalized women to earn and save money, improve health and wellbeing, influence decisions in their home and community, and connect to networks for support. By utilizing skills, knowledge, and resources, women are able to create sustainable change for themselves, their families and community. CLS is now sponsoring Nyiramana Kavura from the Democratic Republic of the Congo through Women for Women International. We send letters of support to Nyiramana each month providing inspiration and encouragement she needs to stay on the path to a new life. Due to CLS’s sponsorship, Nyiramana has successfully enrolled in her assigned critical program to rebuild her life. She is aware of our commitment to support her personal development and is excited to know that we care.
Toys for Tots Sorting On December 2nd, Classy Living Society participated in their largest event of the year. The ladies showed up in massive support bringing holiday cheer and smiling faces. It was so much fun to dress in Santa hats and warm gear, ready to help Toys for Tots pack and sort toys for the children.
Mingle Jingle for Samaritan’s Purse Classy Living Society...Volunteering, Bonding while Making a Difference! Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD is the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. It uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. This year CLS partnered with Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child to do what comes naturally to us as an organization - spread love and give back. During our annual holiday event, the Mingle Jingle, members spent time packing individual shoe boxes with gifts (fun toys, hygiene items, school supplies) to help make a child smile and say “wow!”
Angel Tree Distribution Set Up The Angel Tree Program is one of The Salvation Army’s highest profile Christmas efforts. This year, The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta has registered almost 10,000 children and seniors to receive clothing and toys at Christmas time. On December 16th, CLS supported the Angel Tree program at the Marietta, Georgia warehouse. Members helped to unload trucks filled with gifts. Once unloaded, gifts were sorted to ensure each child receives gifts purchased specifically for them. As part of our volunteer efforts, CLS made sure every Angel had a bag filled with appropriate items. On December 18th, CLS continued its volunteer efforts with the Angel Tree initiative during the most rewarding and fun part of the program -- distributing the gifts to the families.
Toy Give-a-Way Assistance Lift Up Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to helping the homeless and low income families in the metro Atlanta area.Â The programs include assisting with basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter and educational training such as career workshops and computer classes. They provide services and programs to support the whole family with services ranging from feeding the homeless on the streets of Atlanta to job readiness/self empowerment program to promote self sufficiency. On December 23rd, Classy Living Society participated in the LiftUp Atlanta 2017 Christmas Toy Drive. Volunteers stuffed goodie bags for children and purchased new toys toward the goal to donate 500 new toys for 500 needy children. In summary, 2017 was a banner year for Classy Living Society; as we did what we do best -- serving our collective communities in a positive way to change the world. We look forward to a new exciting 2018 - a new year filled with growth and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. CLS is definitely on the move!
HOPE THRU SOAP Jason Winter
Each weekend, Jason travels around the Atlanta area in an SUV with the silver 12-by6-foot trailer in tow -- -- offering love through portable cleanliness to those in need. Jason’s effort is funded by donations, but many times, Jason funds his operations right from his own wallet. As Jason told blogger David Wolfe, “When you’ve lost everything—your job, your car, your home—something as simple as a shower can be the difference between hopeless and hopeful.” Jason’s philosophy is that if a person is clean and refreshed from a hot shower, they are less likely to want to sleep under a bridge, and more likely to be motivated to go out and find work. Through Hope thru Soap, Jason has been able to offer a hand up to many people. Yet he remains humble, “It’s a great feeling to help these people but I don’t do it for myself, I do it for the folks that can’t speak for themselves and don’t really have hope left. We bring them hope.” 26
On October 14, Classy Living Society sponsored and volunteered at a towel drive to benefit Hope Thru Soap. Over 200 towels were collected! In addition, on November 17, the law firm of Morris, Manning & Martin sponsored a “Jeans Day” to benefit Hope Thru Soap, after employee and CLS member, Janine Lattimore brought Hope Thru Soap to their attention. Lawyers and staff members donated $10 and $5, respectively, in exchange for the privilege of wearing jeans to the office - and a total of $594 was collected!
If you would like to support/donate to Hope Thru Soap, please visit their donation page at https://www.youcaring.com/hope-thru-soap-664150 Resource: https://www.davidwolfe.com/hope-through-soap/ 27
MY THREE SICKLERS Mapillar Dahn If you were to run a Google search of the phrase “super woman,” somehow I believe Mapillar Dahn’s name and picture would come up in the search results. She is the mother of three beautiful daughters, Amatullah 13, Khadeejah 12, and Hajar 8. The amazing thing about this mother and her three daughters is that all of her daughters are affected by sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease affects people of many racial and ethnic groups. In the United States alone, 90,000 to 100,000 people―mainly Blacks or African Americans―have sickle cell. The disease occurs in approximately one of every 500 Black or African-American births and in approximately one of every 36,000 Hispanic-American births. 28
Ms. Dahn’s 501(c)(3) organization, My Three Sicklers (“MTS”) Sickle Cell Foundation was founded two years ago, and is committed to helping sickle cell patients and their families get through the long and arduous journey of life with sickle cell disease. Since its inception, MTS has delivered moral and financial support to sickle cell patients and their families. In addition, MTS endeavors to increase the public’s awareness of sickle cell anemia by supporting research and educational activities and providing information to the public on how to assist and support those affected. The organization provides support to families by sponsoring meetings, events, and workshops to teach those affected how to live well with the disease.
MTS has garnered widespread recognition and awards from numerous institutions - locally, regionally, and internationally - in helping sickle cell patients and creating awareness about the disease. Among others, MTS initiatives include:
MTS Birthday Club and Birthday for a Cause People from around the globe “donate” their birthdays online and raise funds to purchase birthday gifts for children living with sickle cell in the United States.
Summer Camp Scholarship MTS raises funds for scholarships to Camp New Hope, a week-long camp organized by the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, for children battling with sickle cell disease.
Annual Kickball Tournament MTS recently held their 2nd Annual Kickball Tournament and proceeds from the event will benefit MTS to aid in its continuing quest to bring awareness to the Sickle Cell Disease.
A native of Liberia who immigrated to the United States at the age of 14, Ms. Dahn was honored with the Classy Living Award at Classy Living Society’s recent Red Dress Gala. Thereafter, Ms. Dahn was also featured in the Daily Observer, a Liberian newspaper, for having received the Classy Living Society honor. (www.liberianobserver.com/columns/health/classy-living-societyhonors-model-mapillar-dahn/) For more information on the sickle cell disease, Ms. Dahn’s amazing organization and how you can help, visit their website at www.mythreesicklers.org
THE 4th ANNUAL RED DRESS GALA by Janine Lattimore In the novel “Handle With Care” by Jodi Picoult, two sisters had retreated to their bedroom for the night. One sister asked the other sister if she could tuck her in and read a story (just like her Mom usually does). Frustrated, the other sister said, “I don’t have any stories.” “We could make one up together,” her sister replied. She began, “Once upon a time there were two sisters. One of them was really, really strong, and one of them wasn’t.” Turning to her sister she said, “Your turn.” Rolling her eyes and still exasperated, the other sister said, “The strong sister went outside into the rain and realized the reason she was strong was because she was made out of iron, but it was raining and she rusted. The end!” “No,” said her sister. “Because the sister who wasn’t strong went outside when it was raining, and hugged her really tight until the sun came out again.”
Beautiful... the only and most appropriate word used by Classy Living Society’s Founder and CEO LaShanda Pitts to describe CLS’ 4th Annual Red Dress Gala which was held on Sunday, November 5. CLS members and guests, clothed in a stunning array of red dresses, gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Gateway Hotel in Atlanta, GA for the event. This year’s Gala was coined the “Compassion Gala” and promoted awareness concerning Epilepsy, Depression and Sickle Cell Anemia.
Upon entering, the ladies stopped to pose for photos on a white fur carpet in front of a pink upholstered wall adorned with roses emblazoned with the words “Red Dress Gala” in white. After mingling and browsing the various vendors present, the ladies were seated among stylish and elegant décor designed by Laik Experiences. A delicious full brunch was served, featuring breakfast items, fresh fruits, cheeses and other noshes. Then, on to an afternoon of entertainment, various presentations, and speeches and stories told that evoked laughter and joy and heartfelt tears of compassion. The opening left everyone in the room speechless and breathless; ballerina Heather Hatzenbuhler gracefully performed a solo dance, accompanied by talented violinist Angelina Sherie. Ms. Sherie performed “Stop and Stare” a hauntingly beautiful song from her recent EP “Glimpse” – so appropriate for the occasion.
One of the most sought after “clean comedians” in recent times, the hilariously talented Lady Q served as hostess for the afternoon. Lady Q definitely kept everyone in stitches with her wildly funny jokes and stories. Other entertainment of the day included Regina Troupe, accomplished and amazing R&B songstress Regina Troupe, who performed her cover of Adele’s song “Hello.” A self-taught musician and singer, Ms. Troupe has performed and toured with a host of famous national recording artists. Several speakers spoke about some of the causes CLS is very passionate about. Dr. Chanda Pilgrim of UP Therapy spoke about functional depression and various ideas about how to love ourselves, and become the best possible versions of ourselves. Tamiko Lowry-Pugh is a legislative advocate and domestic violence survivor. She spoke about the enactment of Marsy’s Law. If put into place, Marsy’s Law would protect victims from coming in contact with their perpetrators and victims would be notified when perpetrators were released on bond or paroled. Stephanie Jackson of Lifelink of Georgia spoke about the importance of organ donation in Georgia and becoming an organ donor.
The coveted Classy Living Award was presented to two well-deserving recipients:
Mapillar Dahn Founder of My Three Sicklers and the mother of three beautiful daughters who are each affected by the sickle cell disease. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, MTS is committed to helping sickle cell patients and their families get through the long and arduous journey of life with sickle cell disease.
Natalie Beavers Founder of the Angels of Epilepsy, a foundation and advocacy organization in the Atlanta, Georgia area that supports, advocates, and inspires many around the world living with epilepsy/ seizures. Attendees at the Gala also participated in a giving back initiative and were asked to bring donations of coloring books, colored pencils, markers and crayons. The items were given to the Angels of Epilepsy, who were to place the items in gift bags and deliver them to Egleston Children’s Hospital for children affected by epilepsy.
Always inspirational, CLS Founder LaShanda Pitts touched every heart with a soul-bearing speech about her continuing journey as the CEO of CLS, her vision, and how CLS will continue to move forward. Ms. Pitts also presented several awards of recognition and appreciation to various Women Who Rock within the organization! Kudos to
Agnes Rochelle Jamison, the recipient of the 2017 CLS Volunteer of the Year award! For her dedication and hard work, Agnes received an all expense paid trip to Santa Barbara, California, an excursion sponsored by CLS Travels in August of 2018. Agnes is an active, dedicated foot soldier in the community and has demonstrated selfless commitment to the giving back works of CLS.
In addition, several other supporters were recognized and awarded for their outstanding contributions to CLS:
Tarrah Smith Founding Sister
Ray Herman Community Supporter
Takirah Jones Community Supporter
Mizette Coakley Community Supporter
Janine Lattimore Editor in Chief
Tiffany Coppins Events Manager
Sisters! Besides an afternoon of giving back, entertainment, delicious food and speeches, the Red Dress Gala was an afternoon of sisterhood bonding, networking, meeting new people and making new friends. The activities of the day fell in line with one of CLS’ primary missions -- to promote sisterhood and to inspire women to establish relationships, share like experiences and goals, provide information on businesses, interests and experiences and to support one another. Just like the two sisters in the novel “Handle With Care,” as we make up our own stories together, each one of us must embrace and hold our sister in the rain – when we are strong and when we are weak. Hug each other while we journey; while we each tell our stories of triumph and pain, joy and sadness, sickness and health. There is strength in sisterhood, and at the 4th Annual Red Dress Gala, that strength was truly evident. Until next year, when CLS holds their momentous FIFTH Red Dress Gala, that energy will resonate, as the women of CLS continue to socialize, inspire and give back.
Please visit cls-reddress.org to view more beautiful pictures from our 4th Annual Red Dress Gala.
SHOWING LEADERSHIP THROUGH SERVICE Agnes Jamison Classy Living Society 2017 Volunteer of the Year
Taking Classy Living Society’s mission to serve through civic engagement by transforming lives one community at a time to heart, Agnes has broken the glass ceiling when it comes to volunteering. CLS’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year knows that true dedication and commitment have been the cornerstone for her extremely successful journey of service. This oh-so-classy award recipient shared why this recognition meant so much to her. To Agnes, growing up in a small town in Arkansas meant that everyone knew everyone, and it also meant that everyone looked out for each other. Agnes felt that it really did take a village to raise children back then, and she said that her family would always assist others in the community. Agnes knew what it meant to give and to receive, as her family constantly gave. But she and her family were also the recipients of assistance at times during the holidays. Agnes realizes that she has always had the heart to serve others and that service is definitely her spiritual gift. Working side by side in the community with her sisters is the most rewarding feeling in the world and Agnes hopes to pass this sense of service on to the next generation...especially to her precious young grandson. Agnes continues to be a dedicated educator and she’s recently taken a step back from teaching special education students. She’s moved forward in her career as she is now teaching energetic first grade students this year. Agnes is still very active in the Children’s Ministry at Christian Life Center Worldwide in Rex, Georgia. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends and always, always puts God first. Agnes says that will never change.
Being part of a women’s volunteer organization like CLS has given Agnes amazing opportunities to network and bond. Our 2017 Volunteer of the Year recipient would like to dedicate this year’s award to all of her sisters who get up early on Saturday mornings - come rain or shine - and hit the ground running to serve the community and give back a portion of what they’ve been blessed to have. Agnes would also like to send a special thanks to LaShanda Pitts, Founder and CEO of Classy Living Society, for always leading by example. Agnes says she truly loves her sisters to the moon and back! Yes, Agnes...we all saw those tears when you were recognized at the 4th Annual CLS Red Dress Compassion Gala on Sunday, November 5th. Yes...we all truly understand! The atmosphere was full of enthusiasm and eagerness. All eyes were on Agnes as she accepted the prestigious Volunteer of the Year award. She remains persistent and her hope is renewed as she sees the vision that CLS is based on - to serve the community and continue to provide a positive sisterhood bonding environment for women to give back, mentor our youth and care for those who might otherwise be overlooked and neglected. Agnes was previously featured as a member spotlight in the Sept/Oct 2016 issue of the Classy Chronicles. Check out this issue and read more about this faithful classy volunteer.
Giving Her All... A Founding Sister Speaks… by Avis Pitts
Tarrah Smith is still continuing the conversation when it comes to volunteering and giving back. She was recently honored at the 4th Annual CLS Red Dress Compassion Gala on Sunday, November 5th as a Founding Sister of Classy Living Society. Tarrah shared what it meant to her to receive this humbling recognition. As a founding member, Tarrah has seen Classy Living Society evolve into the rapidly growing women’s volunteer organization that it is today. She was grateful to receive the Founding Sister Award for her contributions to CLS, and to be included in the prestigious group of sisters who were honored that day. Tarrah’s choice to serve and give back comes from a place of duty in the form of gratitude for those who came before her, and she believes there are opportunities for everyone to make a difference -- great or small -- towards being the change we all want to see in our communities. Tarrah feels thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to serve alongside the women of Classy Living Society and to be part of something so much bigger than herself. She has long enjoyed watching this beloved organization grow and blossom into what the Founder, LaShanda Pitts dreamed of and marvelously envisioned.
Tarrah has made a few changes since she was the member spotlight in the Feb/ March 2016 issue of the Classy Chronicles. Sheâ€™s an excited newlywed and is spending a lot of quality time with her new family. Â As 2018 draws near, she is excited to continue working on initiatives and programs on initiatives and programs Named Legacy for Change by 501c3, with a focus on developing programs for young girls, and specifically, CLS college student members. Tarrah continues to look forward to MORE...MORE time to SERVE...MORE time to GIVE...MORE time to CARE and More time to help TRANSFORM one community at a time. Check out the Feb/March 2016 issue of the Classy Chronicles and read more about this classy and dedicated founding member.
Still Living, Loving, Learning and Growing
is a Winner and She’s Taking It All! Growing up in a close knit neighborhood with plenty of good friends and family, Ray Herman always had a real sense of community. That is why many who know her feel that her recent recognition was so well deserved. Ray was presented with the 2017 Community Supporter award at the 4th Annual Red Dress Compassion Gala on Sunday, November 5th. She was surprised, she was excited and she was absolutely thrilled to receive this type of honor. Ray says it was a truly humbling experience for her and her first thought was WOW! Ray’s next thought was knowing that this was a very special moment for her, as her mother was in the audience and had a chance to see her “baby girl” receive a special award from a special organization that is near and dear to her heart. Ray had and continues to have a great sense of gratitude; she never looks for rewards nor seeks to receive anything back when she volunteers. She simply looks for the bright smiles on the faces of those she serves and appreciates the opportunity to make others feel better about themselves.
Ray notes that giving back comes so naturally and easy for her, and that her passion for helping others in the community has never felt better. It’s just part of her DNA! Ray says that the older she gets, the more she realizes what’s important in life.. being a blessing to others on so many levels. Ray LOVES helping people in any way possible, and does so to the best of her ability. Ray is now in the 35th chapter of her life, and feels so fortunate and thankful to have made it this far. Continuing to be so engaged with her family helps her to stay focused on what’s really important. With the latest addition to the Herman family -- her nephew, Honor now on board, there’s a great explosion of joy surrounding her and her family.
The gym is still Ray’s “happy place” and she values being healthy and looking her best. It’s very important to her and she hopes she’s motivating others to do the same. She continuously challenges herself with new workouts, and having fun in the process. She’s been presented with new job opportunities recently, and is very focused on being successful and reaching her financial goals. Cooking is also a passion of Ray’s, and she loves to make people smile with her delicious meals. Her latest tagline: Don’t Go through life...GROW through life! Ray continues to be on the winning side of life! Ray thanks Classy Living Society and Founder and CEO LaShanda Pitts for her recognition. She will never stop striving to be part of something bigger than herself. Ray was previously featured as a member spotlight in the May/ June 2017 issue of the Classy Chronicles. Check out this issue and read more about this classy community supporter.
Never at a Loss for Words
Janine Lattimore Classy Living Society’s Editor in Chief
Speaking with Janine is like walking into a magical world of words. The way she spins her “word webs” and navigates language are worthy of special recognition. And that’s just what she received at the 4th Annual CLS Red Dress Compassion Gala on Sunday, November 5th. Janine received a wonderful award as Editor in Chief of CLS and felt honored, humbled, surprised and accomplished. Her face said it all as she expressively walked to the podium and was presented with this honor.
She wanted to recognize and dedicate her award to her mother, who recently passed away in April, as she notes that her mom enjoyed expressing herself in writing as well; her mother would rather write a note than pick up the phone and make a call. She passed this way of thinking onto her daughter, who knows that her mom is smiling down on her. Janine would like to thank Classy Living Society and LaShanda Pitts, Founder and CEO of CLS for changing her life and providing a platform for like-minded women to come together and give back, inspire one another, and realize their gifts, hopes and dreams. Janine was born and raised in Bronx, New York where she called herself “a homebody” until her teen years. She started journaling and writing fictional stories at an early age. This sparked a passion for writing, and Janine’s imagination took over with the support of her family and some devoted teachers. Another passion was born as Janine was constantly by her mother’s side in the kitchen. She learned to bake those jaw dropping cakes that she’s famous for -- for one, her red velvet cakes that are simply out of this world!
She moved to Atlanta in 1985, and lives with her amazing son, who is now 15 years old. She has worked for various law firms over a span of 36 years. Being the deeply spiritual person that she is, Janine thanks God for her gifts and talents, and feels that she’s living an extremely blessed life. She says that the key to enjoying a blessed and enriched life is in the giving of self and gratefulness for the present. Janine knows she’s being used to inspire and uplift others...whether she’s writing about something funny, informational, or something that can make someone feel better about themselves or their circumstances. Hearing people say that she inspires them when they read what she’s written is such a blessing to her. Janine continues have tremendous plans and incredible dreams about where her writing talent is going to take her. For now...she just wants us to STAY TUNED!!
After graduating from high school where she learned stenography, Janine took some time off (24 years!) to work before going to college. She graduated from University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
Perseverance and Strength
Mizette Coakley Continuing to Show Her Passion for Volunteering
Heeding the call to serve others and make a difference in her community, Mizette’s schedule often looks like she barely has any time for herself. But according to her, she wouldn’t have it any other way. Mizette continues to have an amazing life to live and a motivating story to tell. She says that volunteering is in her blood for life and she loves being part of the Classy Living Society volunteer movement. Mizette has been a member of CLS nearly four years and she’s been so thankful to be around a group of CLASSY women who give so much to help others. She loves giving back too!
Lately, Mizette has also been taking her volunteering spirit to her new job at the law firm of Alston & Bird, and she knows this move has afforded more opportunities to be a servant to those in need. Mizette continues to be sole proprietor of Mizette’s Bartending Services, a company that is full of Caribbean flavor and flare. She says her business is really flourishing and she’s grateful for that. Mizette says “I just love what I do!!”
Our 2017 4th Annual Red Dress Compassion Gala Community Supporter award recipient made her way to the stage with a look of surprise and a stance of gratitude when she received her award. The recognition that she received on Sunday, November 5th was both encouraging and appreciated. She felt the love from her CLS sisters and Founder and CEO LaShanda Pitts. For this honor, she is and will always be grateful. Her passion shows in every volunteer effort she’s part of.
Mizette was previously featured as a member spotlight in the Classy Chronicles Holiday Edition issue 2016. Check out this issue and read more about this passionate volunteer.
akirah Jones Focused...Firm...Faithful Giving honor to God is what helps keep Takirah focused on her desire to help and serve others. When it comes to volunteering, she is committed, dependable and is always firm with her duties. Yes, Takirah takes volunteering seriously but she also knows how to have fun when bonding with her fellow sisters. Being recognized by Classy Living Society and Founder and CEO LaShanda Pitts at the 4th Annual Red Dress Compassion Gala on Sunday, November 5th was a definite highlight for her. Takirah accepted the Community Supporter award with much gratitude, but says she was shocked at the unexpected honor for doing something that comes so naturally to her. She felt honored to be thought of and the recognition gave her a grateful heart. She thanks CLS for thinking of her.
Takirah is the owner of Platts and Pigtails mobile boutique, a nanny and the founder of Gyrl Talk, a women’s empowerment group. She also serves as an Elder and Executive assistant at Embassy International Worship Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Before devoting her work on a full-time basis to Platts and Pigtails, Takirah taught preschool for ten years and worked for some amazing schools, such as Primrose School and Sunbrook Academy. Takirah knows what it means to wear many hats! Coming from the small town of Augusta, Georgia, Takirah always knew the true definition of community. She’s the oldest of eleven children and feels that coming from a large family has helped her know what it truly means to give and receive unconditional love. From this, stems her desire to show love in every single area of her life, especially through giving back. She feels that being out in the community and helping others is a part of her ministry. “I honor God by serving others.” Takirah takes the commandment “love thy neighbor as thyself” seriously.
Takirah has decided to make an impact in the community by being a part of some amazing organizations...Classy Living Society and Destined for Greatness Outreach Youth Center. Her motto continues to be “I’m blessed when I can bless others.” As Takirah continues to serve...look to hear more about this focused classy volunteer.
Classy Living Society’s Holiday Event The Mingle Jingle The Mingle Jingle, Classy Living Society’s member-only holiday event, is one that should not be missed. It is an event filled with festive enjoyment - laughter, sisterhood magic and, of course, giving. This year’s event was held on Tuesday , December 12 at the eclectic Midtown Atlanta restaurant, Apres Diem. The classy sisters arrived toting unwrapped shoe boxes and bags filled with toys, crayons, markers, dolls, books, personal care items, underwear, socks, sunglasses, mittens, hair bows, coloring books and more, for donations to Operation Christmas Child, a giving back project sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love. Through Operation Christmas Project, Samaritan’s Purse collects wrapped shoe boxes filled with Christmas “wow” items to be shipped to children around the world.
Wearing Santa hats with their names written in glitter (who needs name tags!), CLS members enjoyed amazing food, sang Christmas carols, played games, and mingled! The CLS Executive Leadership Team presented upcoming 2018 organizational initiatives and talked about Shade’s fabulous Winter lipstick collection, CLS Travels to Santa Barbara, launching in new cities and more. Classy Concessionaires were also on hand, offering valuable information and goods and services. Then, on to the main event...giving back! What a beautiful sight it was to see CLS members go to work - sharing wrapping paper, tape and scissors to pack shoe boxes filled with donations for boys and girls in various age categories.
There is simply nothing better than celebrating the holiday with a worthwhile giving back initiative; after all itâ€™s the reason for the Season. Â Mingling with like-minded women and working side-by-side for a cause was the order of the evening - volunteering, socializing and inspiring - itâ€™s what CLS does!
If you have a heart for service and are looking for a community of givers, consider joining Classy Living Society.
JOIN Classy Living Society www.cls-volunteer.org
As the holiday season draws to a close, we look forward with excitement to the start of a New Year - 2018! On this, the last day of the year...
Published on Dec 31, 2017
As the holiday season draws to a close, we look forward with excitement to the start of a New Year - 2018! On this, the last day of the year...