EVENTS

On May 18, Classy Living Society celebrated its eighth year in business!  What a major accomplishment!  This year CLS celebrated with a multi-part giveback/social mission!  

During the anniversary week, members posted photographs from their favorite past social and volunteer events, recounting what CLS means to them.  Many of them told the story of how they joined, and the difference that becoming a member has made to their lives.  It was heartwarming to see the photos that have so many memories attached to them.  It was quite a treat to read all of the funny stories, as well as the heartfelt stories of “beautiful survival”, success and triumphs.  The stories are a true testament to the fact that CLS has left, and will continue to leave, an indelible mark on its members and the community at large.  That, in and of itself, is something to celebrate!

In further celebration, CLS members each donated $10 or more to CLS’s 2021 community partner, Margie’s House, to pour into their mission and vision.  Margie’s House serves the community as an outlet to equip disadvantaged families with physical, spiritual, emotional or financial needs.  They provide resources that help them gain and maintain long-term independence.  Collectively, CLS members donated a total of $900 to Margie’s House!

Bonjour!  On Saturday, May 22, CLS members travelled to Paris to celebrate!  Well…not really!  But close to it!  The Berets & Bubbly event was held at Le Bilboquet, a French restaurant in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.  The ladies wore stylish berets, and sat on the patio to dine and clink glasses of celebratory champagne on the patio of the restaurant.  Bon appetit

Not only did the ladies enjoy bubbly and delicious fare, CLS had a few goodies lying in wait!  Everyone was asked to check the underside of the table in front of them for birthday cards taped there.  If found, they were eligible to win a prize!  A few of the members won fabulous gift cards, and the first member to arrive, Ms. Jeannette Washington Whipple, won a night’s stay at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta.  Before leaving, the ladies unleashed the festive balloons that were tied to the tables and chairs and released them into the clear blue sky.  The balloon release was symbolic of the passion and forward thought of the organization for itself – the sky’s the limit … and beyond!

Of final note, the Founding Sisters of CLS presented a $500 scholarship to a deserving young lady of the Girls of Excellence.  During the presentation, Founding Sister Tarrah Smith announced that they would also be purchasing the scholarship recipient’s books for four years!  Girls of Excellence is a nonprofit organization that provides supportive services to girls ages 8-18 in grades 3-12. https://girlsofexcellenceinc.org/

Most people equate birthdays with receiving gifts, and that’s an excellent way to celebrate!  But there’s something about giving that brings a special ambiance to the celebration of a new year.  The best way that CLS knows to celebrate the beginning of a new year in business is to give back to others.  It’s the finest way to say “thank you” to all of its members, supporters, well-wishers and community partners.  Without you, all that we do would not be possible!

Happy Birthday, Classy Living Society!   

“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The temperature was warm, the sunshine golden yellow, the sky blue, the fields green, and the strawberries were blooming … as Classy Living Society brought Spring 2021 in with a bang at Southern Belle Farm!  On May 8, the ladies of CLS donned their cutest denim overalls and red tank tops and got together for a day on the farm to pick fresh delicious strawberries! 

Welcome to the farm!  Southern Belle Farm is a family owned 330-acre working farm. They are open seasonally for fresh produce, berry picking, peach picking, fall fun, Christmas trees, and much more! Located in McDonough, Georgia, just south of Atlanta, Southern Belle Farm also has a wonderful farm market and bakery, where you can buy so many unique and delicious products – fresh scrumptious strawberry shortcake, pound cake, jams and jellies, strawberry cake, fruity syrups, gifts, and more!  Each visitor purchases a keepsake basket to fill with delicious berries or whatever fruit is offered/in season.  

Since it was Mother’s Day weekend, many of the CLS members brought their children and/or grandchildren along! It was truly the most adorable thing to watch the cute kiddies filling their baskets with strawberries!

After strawberry picking, a few of the ladies headed to a nearby Mexican restaurant to enjoy lunch and strawberry margaritas!  

It was an amazing day in the sun, picking strawberries among the lush green rows of the farm, cows mooing nearby and the blue sky overhead.  Anyone want strawberry smoothies, cake, bread, ice cream, cobbler…?  We’ve got plenty!  Springtime fun and sisterhood!  Now that’s Classy!

 

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Monthly Reading Initiative 

During the month of February, Classy Living Society launched a monthly volunteer effort in partnership with the Pajama Program.  

The Pajama Program is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes and supports a comforting bedtime routine and healthy sleep for children to help them thrive. Since 2001, Pajama Program has delivered over 7 million good nights for good days to children facing adversity by providing new pajamas, storybooks, and resources for caregivers. Pajama Program offers bedtime resources and sleep education nationwide, as well as through local programs in New York City, Atlanta, and metro-Detroit. To achieve its mission, Pajama Program relies on a national network of volunteers, generous donors, and partnerships with 4,000 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico. After all, Good Nights Are Good Days.

CLS has launched virtual reading opportunities for its members to upload videos of themselves reading a children’s story of their choice.  Storytime is a chance to introduce children to a world full of possibilities they have no way of knowing exists, and it becomes an extraordinary thing.  Through its partnership with the Pajama Program, CLS will set aside a day each month for its members to virtually read and share a story.

Now that’s a great set-up for sweet dreams!

Pajama Program:  https://pajamaprogram.org

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It was a Saturday afternoon matinee movie for the Classy Living Society!  CLS reserved an entire AMC movie theatre in Buckhead/Atlanta to view a classic matinee movie – with socially distanced seating, of course!  CLS members showed up and showed out at this Brims & Red Blazers event.  Decked out in stylish brims and chic red blazers, the ladies arrived at the theater just in time to pose for photos in front of a beautifully customized CLS movie poster, featuring two of the four Founding Sisters!  It was classy and dope and just the photo backdrop you would expect to see at a CLS event!  

After grabbing snacks and drinks in the lobby, the ladies proceeded to the theatre, and were met at the door with the gift of a red fleece throw blanket with the message “Thank you for your Warm Heart”.  After being seated and hearing a few important announcements, the movie began.  No one knew what movie was being shown, and then … surprise! – the 1972 classic movie “Lady Sings the Blues,” featuring Diana Ross in her acting debut as jazz singer Billie Holiday.  For many of the ladies, this was the first time in a while since last seeing the movie, and seeing it again was truly a treat.  Everyone was riveted to the screen to watch Diana Ross in one of her most famous roles and a handsome young Billy Dee Williams in the role of her Boo, Louis McKay.  The movie was nominated for a number of awards, including Ms. Ross’ Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.  She did win a Golden Globe Award as Most Promising Newcomer-Female and the movie garnered three NAACP Image Awards – Outstanding Motion Picture, Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture (Billy Dee Williams), and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (Diana Ross).   

Warm hearts …. each CLS sister donated $17 in advance of the event, and 100% of the proceeds were donated to The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation for their hearing aid program.  The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation provides hearing aid assistance for approximately 1000 low-income Georgia residents every year. The Lighthouse partners with 150 hearing providers across the state, with top hearing aid manufacturers, and multiple other health organizations to provide these services. With CLS’s donation, the Lighthouse Foundation can provide 65 hearing aids to its program participants.  Visit their website for more information: https://lionslighthouse.org/

To top the afternoon off after the movie, a few of the ladies got together at the Intercontinental Hotel for food, cocktails, laughter, and conversation.  It was a great afternoon for amazing CLS sisters to come together and promote sisterhood and giving back.  The brims!  The red blazers!  Photos, a CLS movie poster, gifts, hugs, love! And a celebration of Lady Day with a movie classic!  Now that’s classy!

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The spotlight’s on LaSonya Jones!!

Being a California native, LaSonya knows all about sunny days and star-filled nights. Being a “Cali girl” not only meant being raised around natural beauty, a vibrant food culture, movies, and music, but it also meant being able to view fine vineyards and beautiful beaches. LaSonya took advantage of it all and knows her Golden State well!

LaSonya has one amazing son who is a college graduate. Her son also proudly and honorably served in the United States Navy.

LaSonya believes in purpose and that is part of her reason for joining Classy Living Society. On pages 10 and 11 of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life, it all starts with God. Page 10 reads, Colossians 1:16, “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible…everything got started in him and found its purpose in him. Page 11 reads, “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your own happiness. It is far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”

LaSonya firmly believes in these words and attributes them to helping her survive an almost fatal accident. In 1996, she almost lost her life in a car accident, and to this day, she still has ten screws and a plate in her left foot. After the accident, she read The Purpose Driven Life…again! LaSonya knew that God spared her life and allowed her to keep her left foot for a reason and his purpose.  

In 2009, LaSonya found herself recently divorced. After working for the second-largest school district in the nation for over twenty-three years, she decided she also needed a change in her career. With the support and encouragement of her son, she relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. According to him, Atlanta was just the right place to be for upwardly mobile women of color, and he was definitely right on point with his recommendation. So in June of 2010, LaSonya hit the road…on a solo trip, with God, her clothes, and four boxes of shoes (all heels and one pair of sneakers).  

In October of 2010, LaSonya met the love of her life…her awesome husband, who she met while working part-time selling furniture. LaSonya was bold and invited her soon-to-be husband on a date, and the rest is history. She and her husband are celebrating six years of marriage this year.  

LaSonya’s blessings continued in January 2011 when she landed a job doing exactly what she had done for twenty-three years in California. LaSonya was a Transportation Manager for Cobb County Schools. After eight years of working for Cobb County, she decided to walk away from that job and pursue her long felt passion. LaSonya was serious about encouraging women to live fit and healthy lives. This is what she wanted to do full time, and she set out to do just that!

LaSonya says that she’s always enjoyed working out, and in September 2011, she stumbled upon a dance fitness class that she’d never heard of before. It was called Zumba, and she was instantly hooked! After speaking with the instructor after class, she went home and signed up for training that night. She found her niche!

After being licensed in November, LaSonya began teaching classes all around the city of Atlanta. Some of her venues were Hartsfield Atlanta (Delta Airlines), Coca-Cola, Home Depot Corporate Office, Rubbermaid Corporation, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and many more.  

2011 also included another game-changer for LaSonya. She garnered a contract with Meals on Wheels of Atlanta Neighborhood Senior Centers, providing fitness classes for seniors in all seven locations across Metro and Southeast Atlanta. Yes, she knows she’s been blessed!

In 2012, LaSonya decided to launch her fabulous LL Dance and Fitness LLC. Between 2013 and 2019, she opened two boutique dance fitness studios while continuing to work full-time for the Cobb County School District supervising 150 school bus drivers and twenty-six schools in South Cobb. Also, during this time, LaSonya became licensed to teach several other fitness formats. She is proud to say that working with seniors is what brings her the most joy. One of her favorite and most memorable moments was when she walked into a senior center in Southeast Atlanta, where she met Ms. Ruby smiling with her one good tooth and calling her name. Ms. Ruby was a proud, old-school Sweet Auburn girl! She was so excited to see LaSonya and show her how the workout that they’d been doing was helping her raise her hand over her head. She couldn’t wait to tell LaSonya! LaSonya said her heart smiles every time she thinks of Ms. Ruby Pate and how she loved to listen to her favorite song…”Hole In The Wall.” LaSonya remembers not leaving until she played that song for Ms. Ruby at least two or three times.

Now in LaSonya’s studios, she’s hung X-Ray pictures of her ankle with the ten screws and a plate on her wall along with a note that reads, “I dance because I can.” Her hope is to encourage anyone and everyone who walks through those doors to keep pushing and never give up.  

 

LaSonya has always trusted God to lead her on her journey and admits that it hasn’t always been an easy or perfect journey, but she would not change anything. All things have worked together to get her where she is today; she’s grateful to say.

The exact reasons for LaSonya’s existence and why she is a member of Classy Living Society are the same. It’s about The Purpose Driven Life…”It’s Not About You.”

Congratulations to you LaSonya, for never giving up on your passion and showing what it truly means to be committed to a cause. 

LaSonya says she is “loving life one dance at a time”!!

Follow LaSonya Jones on Facebook – lldanceandfitness.net/classes

LaSonya Jones – Owner

LL Dance and Fitness LLC

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Meet Lativah Greene, Founder, CEO, and franchisor of senior care through her company  Compassionate Helpers.  Through Compassionate Helpers, her vision is to help seniors and disabled individuals around the world receive the best health care services in the comfort of their own homes.  Click on the link below and read her feature on the Chronicles Too! – Classy Living Society’s online blog which features people, businesses, and organizations that are doing amazing things in our communities!

https://cls-volunteer.org/ChroniclesToo/lativah-greene/

Get Featured!  Click on the link below and find out how you can be one of our next features on the Chronicles Too! Magazine!

https://cls-volunteer.org/ChroniclesToo/interviews/

Advertise with us!  When you advertise on the Classy Chronicles platform, you will become a part of something bigger than yourself by giving back to the community! Click the link below and find out how!

https://cls-volunteer.org/ChroniclesToo/about/advertise/

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Early on a recent misty Saturday morning, Classy Living Society took to the trails of Kennesaw Mountain in Kennesaw, Georgia for a unity hike to benefit children with MS and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta!  The hike was amazing and many of the CLS ladies proved themselves to be the weekend warriors they are by hiking to the very top of the mountain.  What was even more amazing was the over 200 puzzles collected from our hikers that we will donate for the enjoyment of children ages 4-10. 

When it comes to their growing bones and bodies, kids and teens need specialized orthopedic care. Where they are taken for treatment matters, and that’s where Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta comes in. The Orthopedics Program at Children’s Healthcare is the only nationally ranked pediatric program in Georgia and the top program in the Southeast. Parents trust Children’s Healthcare because they know their children will be cared for by one of the country’s leading pediatric orthopedic teams.

Not only did this event benefit the children, it promotes CLS’s Health, Fitness and Nutrition Initiative as we continue to emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and continuation of personal fitness goals!   

Finally, it was also the first event that CLS sisters wore their new T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase, “It’s the Volunteering for Me”, and matching buttons.  The T-shirts and buttons will be worn at all future CLS events and is a new look for the organization.  What’s more, it genuinely embodies the true character and mission of the organization…. It’s the Volunteering for Me! Now, that’s Classy!

 

 

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Say her name…

…. is a phrase synonymous with a movement that brings awareness to Black women and girls who are victims of police brutality, abuse and harm. We shouted “Say her Name” about the injustices done to Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and the countless and nameless other Black women who have been fatally shot by police. But we can go one or more further, by shouting “Say Her Name” for another awareness; another cause where Black women suffered inequities that not many people know about. And for sure, not many people, if any, know their names. Until now…

Their names are Betsey, Lucy and Anarcha and they were enslaved Black women. Between 1844 and 1849, these young enslaved women, plus nine other unidentified women and girls were operated on at a slave hospital founded by Dr. J. Marion Sims, who repeatedly operated on them, without permission and without anesthesia, in an effort to discover new and successful ways to perform a medical technique to repair fistulas. Anarcha alone endured over 30 experimental surgeries over a four-year span.

Until recent years, Dr. Sims was touted and celebrated as the “Father of Gynecology”. Indeed, his research made great strides in the field. Yet, we now know, and acknowledge, the horrible truth behind his research and inventions. Today, we present to you Camille Davis-Williams, M.D., who has been asked by the advisory board of the Georgia OBGYN Society to pay homage to the contributions of these women to the gynecology world. Dr. Davis-Williams has written a statement regarding this atrocity, and we are sharing it with you here.

Say her name….

Betsey, Lucy and Anarcha.

Dr. Camille Davis Williams Acknowledgement

I have been selected by the advisory board of the Ga OBGYN Society to join Dr. Anne Patterson in acknowledging the individual and collective contribution of the ‘named’ slave mothers (Betsey, Lucy and Anarcha) to our OBGYN specialty. It is significant that the timing of this acknowledgment on the last day of February, Black History Month, is juxtaposed with the beginning of the month of March, “Women’s History Month”! This timing captures the spirit of the current challenging times as our healthcare system continues to grapple with controlling the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic while addressing the social determinants of health which all too often are undergirded by systemic racism.
Medical history has not heretofore given voice to the voiceless African American enslaved patients who suffered in silence as live clinical and surgical experimental test subjects used to greatly advance medical science. On today, February 28, 2021, we, the Ga. OBGYN Society, pay homage to Betsey, Lucy, and Anarcha et al. for enduring the unimaginable pain and suffering which led to innovations and advancements in surgery and anesthesia that continue to impact women’s health today.
Our knowledge of the voices is embedded in stories passed down through generations and are now being shared with our younger generations who do not accept further historical ‘gloss over’ accounts of unimaginable human sacrifices.
Dr. J. Marion Sims perfected the correction of vesicovaginal fistulae in women who had experienced obstructed labors. These laboring mothers were unable to deliver babies that were too large to fit through the birth canal which caused crush injuries between the bladder and uterus rendering the two organs connected. This anatomic catastrophe renders them completely incontinent of urine. He operated on these three named patients multiple times without anesthesia including operating on Anarcha 30+ times.
I first learned about the three slave mothers and their care as a medical student in the late 70s. During instruction, I was chided to “call their names”! Having been raised in the ‘deep south’, I knew our rules of engagement which included not demeaning the sacrifices of those who experienced unearned suffering by engaging in callous ‘mixed company’ small talk about victims. As explained in a statement by Dr. MLK, I clearly understood that the ‘thingification of a people by 244 years of chattel slavery reduced them to be subliminally depersonalized by their owners and viewed as less than comparably human’.
I, therefore, declined over and over to ‘call their names’. As many of us have evolved in ‘unlearning’ some of the tenents that bind us, I celebrate a word of wisdom regarding the Great Wall of China: “Those who walk the wall should never forget those who built it.” I call their names: Betsey, Lucy and Anarcha and I humbly thank them (et al.) for giving their all.

Camille Davis-Williams, M.D.

Illustration of Dr. J. Marion Sims with Anarcha by Robert Thom. Anarcha was subjected to 30 experimental surgeries.
Pearson Museum, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

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Gotta Have Sole is a group that gives brand new sneakers to kids who are living in homeless shelters and CLS lent a hand this month. Members created one-of-a-kind cards using markers, stickers, and color pencils with friendly messages and/or purchased and sent a pair of sneakers.

Why shoes?
For homeless kids, walking in worn-out shoes, hand-me-downs, or simply shoes that don’t fit is sadly all too common, which can easily make kids feel like they don’t fit in at school. Gotta Have Sole provides homeless kids with brand-new shoes to help them feel confident, comfortable, and special.
Gotta Have Sole: https://www.gottahavesole.org/

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Classy Living Society sisters participated in a Color a Smile campaign!

Color a Smile is a nonprofit organization spreading smiles with cheerful drawings. Volunteers print a coloring sheet or two of choice from the organization’s treasure trove of cheerful outlines, color them with their own custom design and mail it in! In turn, Color a Smile distributes the drawings to senior citizens, troops overseas and anyone in need of a smile! We all could use a smile, right? In the past 25 years, they have distributed over 1 million drawings. They accept colorings, as well as original drawings from adults and children. Visit their website at https://colorasmile.org.

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Welcome to the NEW Classy Chronicles!

Formerly, the Classy Chronicles was the official online digital magazine of Classy Living Society. The newly revamped Classy Chronicles is now a platform housed on the Classy Living Society website! Through easy-to-navigate dropdown menus, the Classy Chronicles provides an outlet to many subjects of interest at the click of a mouse – articles and features that highlight people who are doing amazing things in the community, health and wellness, work-life balance, beauty and fashion and more!

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