EVENTS

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and what better way for CLS to acknowledge the importance of this awareness than to do a mental health check-in with its members!  On May 26, 2020, members of CLS had an opportunity to join a live virtual talk with Corey Minor Smith, an attorney, author and transformational speaker.  Corey Empowers!

From a childhood filled with instability, broken relationships, a parent with mental illness, and countless other demoralizing life situations – Corey’s posture is that of a fighter.  As a result of her life experiences, she was unyielding in her determination to make her dream of becoming a lawyer and servant leader a reality.

During the virtual chat on Facebook Live, Corey presented the story of her compelling journey and provided strategies to make mental health a top priority and encourage those who chimed in to use their voices to advocate for others.  Corey empowered her CLS Talks audience to be their very best while managing life’s most challenging undesirable circumstances. Her heartwarming account of her journey will serve as a constant reminder and source of inspiration on how to turn problems into power.

For more information on Corey, Corey Empowers, follow her on social media and to pick up the motivational memoir #Driven, visit her website: Corey Empowers

“Corey is one of the most engaging presenters and knowledgeable speakers I’ve encountered, a brilliant woman who will inspire you to soar above your circumstances and navigate your way from negativity to positive outcomes. She’s the real deal!”
— Dr. Michael Eric Dyson | Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University and New York Times Bestselling Author

CLS Talks is an exciting platform by which CLS will bring informative insights to support, among other things, women’s physical, relational and financial health.  The goal of CLS Talks is to educate the participants of these unique video sessions on important topics related to women’s health.

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On Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Classy Living Society observed a Virtual Wednesday – a day to focus on a very important virtual community service event – sending text messages to first responders through Text for Humanity.   By way of history, Text for Humanity was created to counter online negativity by exchanging positive messages between strangers.  It is the world’s first texting switchboard that allows strangers to send and receive personal, positive text messages.  During Covid-19, however, they extended their service to allow anyone to send a message of gratitude to front line heroes.  Teamwork makes the dream work, as Text for Humanity is performing this worthwhile gesture in collaboration with Sinch, a communications company, and Mental Health America.

Through Text for Humanity, CLS members anonymously sent positive text messages to front line heroes and received a positive message in return.  What a way to make the world a little happier, one text at a time!  Virtual Wednesday was a huge success!

Text for Humanity’s philosophy is that although we are using our phones to communicate 24/7, we feel worse mentally – not happier. It must be working, because over 86,000 positive messages have been sent so far!  It’s time for our mobile phones to love us back.

Click on the links below for more information on Text for Humanity and Mental Health America.

Text for Humanity

Mental Health America

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

 

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It’s now clear that part of the positive aftermath of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic will be innovative products and services and community outreach created in direct response to the new normal of American culture. We will also see the emergence of young community heroes and sheroes leading the way. Still in their teenage years and finishing the school year online, the heroic efforts of a few of these budding volunteer superstars recently caught the eye of Classy Living Society (CLS). Here’s a little inspiration, as we take a closer look at their efforts to give back and keep everyone safe during this difficult time in our country’s history, proving that a heart to volunteer can make a huge community impact and give hope at any age.

Meet Mia, Age: 14
Owner and Operator, Mia’s Masks
Moreno Valley, California

Tell us about your volunteer efforts and what motivated you to start giving back to your community?

I like to help others the best I can, so I thought making masks would be a good way to help, seeing that everyone needs a mask now.

What steps did you take to get started? 

I asked my mom for a sewing machine and I have never sewn in my life. I watched YouTube videos to learn how to use the machine. My mom just bought a few different kinds of fabric at first, and we told people we were giving them away to the senior citizens for free, but then everyone started asking for masks, so my mom and I thought, “Well, I guess I can give them away to everyone!” So my mom made a Facebook page and expanded our collection of mask fabrics to sports and kids shows and movies, and then that’s where we started taking more orders for people. Since then, we’ve just kept expanding our collection and taking in more orders.

Did you have any challenges to overcome before starting your volunteer effort? 

We had a hard time finding and getting elastic, so that was probably the main thing my mom was trying to figure out how she’d get enough to make enough masks. She figured it out.

What advice would you give a teen who aspires to give back to their community?

I would definitely say have a good plan because my mom and I just jumped straight into this without really going through everything that could possibly happen (but honestly I didn’t think it would get this big in the first place). Also, pace yourself. Don’t overwork yourself; it’s important to take care of yourself because how could you work if you don’t take care of yourself? 

What has been the most rewarding outcome of this experience?

The appreciation from people. That 9 inches of fabric from me can make people so happy. Knowing that although I don’t make a big difference in the world, I know I DO make a difference in our community. And mostly,  I like the gifts people send me because I just really appreciate things with sentimental value, and people send me some really cool stuff like purses, flowers, and snacks too.

Click here to learn more.

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Photo: AJC

Meet Grey Cohen, Age: 16
Nonprofit Founder and Director, The Meal Bridge
Atlanta, GA

The Meal Bridge is a nonprofit platform in Atlanta with a mission to donate restaurant meals to overtaxed hospital workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only is this charitable effort brilliant in addressing the needs of restaurants seeking patronage, but it’s also been a sustaining force in keeping our Atlanta healthcare professionals well nourished during this busy season. What’s even more extraordinary is the fact that the brainchild of this community effort is a Druid Hills High School tenth grade lacrosse player! Click here to read more of Grey’s story.

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Photo: CNN

Meet Shaivi Shah, Age: 15
Covid Sanitation Kits for the Homeless
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

To help the homeless community amid coronavirus in Los Angeles, fifteen-year-old Shaivi has organized the creation and distribution of sanitation kits to the homeless to help them protect themselves and others during this pandemic. Because she was informed that the most vulnerable among us are the homeless, she decided to put together kits that include hand soap, lotion and masks, using her time out of school to make a difference. She has solicited the help of classmates to assemble hundreds of kits and has raised nearly $20K via Gofundme. Click here to donate and learn more.

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Photo: The North Star

Meet Alycia Kamil, Age: 19
Pandemic Grocery Shopping for Low-Income
Chicago, IL

When other teenagers are out taking risks during the Covid-19 pandemic for their own social pleasure, Alycia and her activist cohorts are using donated funds to buy and deliver groceries for the elderly and low-income in her community, especially those infected by the virus. Drawing inspiration from other charitable groups and refusing to rely on anyone else to solve the problems in her community, Alycia and team have raised nearly $10K for groceries and an emergency fund for independent workers and those particularly hard hit by the outbreak. For more of her story, click here.

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Photo: Youth Service America

Meet Kenan Pala, Age: 15
CEO, Kids4Community
San Diego, CA

Kenan is another young hero determined not to let Covid-19 slow his previous momentum in aiding the homeless community that first started when he was just 12 years old. When he noticed the difference in how people were coming to the aid of an injured baby seal on the beach one day but not the homeless man two feet away, he decided to get busy. Now, at 15, he has ramped his efforts even more as the result of the worldwide pandemic. With the help of other kids just like him, Kids4Community monthly distributes 200 hygiene kits and 500 bags of hope for the homeless, along with school supply drives and disaster relief support. Visit the website here.

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Meet Milan Acosta, Age: 15
Operation Feed a Hero
New Rochelle, New York

This aspiring doctor not only has a special place in her heart for the massive number of victims in New York affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but also for front line responders. High school sophomore, Milan, has taken action to support these first responders during this critical time by delivering food to various NYC hospitals, emergency care facilities and essential workers. It is her hope that the funds raised will continue to support the restaurant industry, as well as needed support for medical professionals. Visit the Gofundme donation page by clicking here.

 

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On May 2, 2020, CLS members and their families were among 400 people across the country who participated in the 2020 National Pajama Walk in support of the Pajama Program’s COVID-19 response efforts!  The goal of this safe and healthy activity in the face of the COVID-19 crisis promoted the mission of the Pajama Program, which is to support comforting bedtime routines for all children. Members who were a part of the CLS team donated upwards of $10 each and collectively the team donated over $1,100 to its amazing community partner’s worthwhile cause.

The funds raised during this effort will shore up the Pajama Program’s COVID-19 response efforts, including virtual programming, targeted distribution of pajamas and books for children and in support of children of first responders. The Pajama Program has locations in each of the CLS societies across the nation and each will receive a portion of the proceeds from donations.

The fundraiser is still open!  Help the Pajama Project, one of CLS’s amazing community partners, reach their goal of $200,000 for this effort.  Visit their website for more information and to donate by clicking here: National Pajama Walk 2020.

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“Mothers are like glue.  Even when you can’t see them, they’re still holding the family together.”
~Susan Gale

For your inspiration, guidance, and amazing wisdom…
WE THANK YOU!
For being an example of what it means to truly give…
WE THANK YOU!
For every hug, word of encouragement, and act of love…
WE THANK YOU!
For laughing with us in the best of times and sticking with us through the worst of times…
WE THANK YOU!
Classy Living Society would like to thank all the amazing mothers who are always there for us.  Because of your strength, we are strong. Because of your love, we can LOVE.
You help us to remember what is really important in life…and TODAY it is you!
Happy Mother’s Day to you!

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY!

 It’s a celebration…

 May 18, 2020, marks Classy Living Society’s 7th Anniversary and we are so proud of our growth and all of our major milestones and achievements over the years.  A momentous occasion such as this deserves a momentous celebration!  We are opening this year’s festivities to the public!  As we continue to adhere to social distancing rules, we are adding a 7th Anniversary Celebration virtual opportunity to our calendar to give back to nonprofit children’s organizations.  CLS is requesting that video story readings be sent to a nonprofit for homeless children and are planning a special outreach and gifts of love to foster care nonprofits.

The Classy Details:   

Volunteer Video Storytime

As part of our recent National Volunteer Week, Atlanta CLS member Terry Denham filmed a video story reading for Vogel Alcove, a Dallas, Texas based organization whose mission is to help young children overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness.  

Submit a video of yourself reading a children’s book to Vogel Alcove for them to show to the children in the organization’s care.  Submission instructions can be found at the link below:

https://vogelalcove.org/get-involved/

In addition to submitting to Vogel Alcove, please post your video on the timeline of the Facebook event post.

For inspiration, take a look at Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s recently launched weekly video reading series for children in partnership with PBS and Penguin Random House called Mondays with Michelle Obama on PBS Kids’ Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrNnk0wFBnCS1awGjq_ijGQ).  

You can also find Terry Denham’s story reading on her YouTube page – MsTerry Reads:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTwsXejYkM8

Outreach to Foster Care Organizations

Did you know…

One of the much-needed items for foster children as they move to new foster homes, etc. are travel bags, duffle bags and/or suitcases?  Children moving into foster homes are often required to pack their personal belongings in trash bags as foster care organizations do not typically have the funds to purchase suitcases for them.  Giving a foster child suitcases or other travel vessels that are theirs to keep provides a reliable way for foster children to transport their belongings and help a child maintain their self-dignity at a time that could be difficult for them.

CLS is asking interested donors to purchase small suitcases or duffle bags through Amazon to be sent directly to one of the foster care organizations listed below. As an addition or alternative, visit the chosen organization’s website and donate any other item(s) outlined by them as a need.

Help us celebrate Year Number 7 … by helping us do what we do what’s at the heart of CLS – giving back to the community.  This year, it’s about the children!  

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National Volunteer Week 2020 was observed during the week of April 19 through April 25 and Classy Living Society celebrated it in a creative way all week long!  

What is National Volunteer Week?

National Volunteer Week – hashtag #NVW – is an annual recognition of the thousands of volunteers across the country who keep many community service organizations running and provide countless volunteer services that otherwise would not exist without them.  Established by the organization Points of Light, #NVW serves as an opportunity to recognize volunteers who lend their time, talent and voice to make a difference.  It is also a great time to volunteer and provide support to organizations and individuals in our communities.  

What Does This Mean For CLS?

Each year, CLS plans a week filled with volunteer activities to celebrate #NVW.  Unfortunately, with the current COVID-19 pandemic comes restrictions, #stayathome orders and social distancing, which has impacted our ability to physically connect and volunteer in our local communities … but that didn’t damper the festivities!  

In keeping with its unique approach to volunteerism, CLS dug in deep and re-imagined its #NVW celebration by scheduling a number of amazing and meaningful virtual opportunities throughout the week.  And OH, what a week it was! Through  virtual efforts, CLS members made a way to find purpose, engage and make a difference in our communities and each other, just the way they always do!

Using the hashtags #ClassyLivingSociety, #WomenVolunteers, #CommunityFirst, #SisterhoodMagic, #PointsofLight, #GiveBack and #NationalWomensorg, CLS members posted their virtual activities each day on their social media timelines, which provided inspiring human interest stories to their families, friends and others each day.  Who among us couldn’t use a good heartwarming story these days!

Here is a snapshot of each day’s activities:

Sunday, April 19 (Volunteer Week 2020 Opening Ceremony) – Honor Our Caregivers Sunday

CLS donated breakfast to staff members at nursing homes in each CLS Society location across the nation and CLS members  mailed thank you cards to those staff members in appreciation of their service to our elderly community. 

Monday, April 20 – Love Thy Neighbor Monday

CLS members surprised their neighbors with flowers and an encouraging note as a way of thanking them and showing neighborly love.  The smiles and appreciation from each lucky recipient demonstrated that this gesture of love and kindness made their day!

Tuesday, April 21 – First Responders’ Love Day

Members delivered pizzas to local fire stations to show appreciation for these first responders’ service to our community.  What on earth would we do without our first responders?  Each of us owes a debt of gratitude to these superheroes!

Wednesday, April 22 – Beauty Industry Love Day

Unless you know exactly what to do with your hair, fingernails, toenails, brows, lashes, etc. all by yourself – you are definitely missing your beauty industry professional right now!  CLS members showed their personal hair stylists, nail, lash technicians, and/or estheticians how much they appreciate them and their services.  The ladies showed their beauty gurus how much they were missed by treating them to lunch, sending them monetary donations or purchasing gift cards to cover a future service.  They also shared information on the great service the experts have provided on their social media outlets.  While this endeavor was carried out to show love, CLS also hoped to play a collective and meaningful role in keeping these amazing small businesses afloat during these times.  Every little bit helps!

Thursday, April 23 – Bring Awareness to a CLS Nonprofit Partner

Thursday was the day CLS members used their social media platforms to bring awareness to an amazing organization called Helping Mamas. The mission of Helping Mamas is to connect helping mamas with mamas needing help.  As the “baby supply bank of Georgia”, they are committed to providing essentials to babies and mothers at no cost.  For information on Helping Mamas, visit their website: https://helpingmamas.org/   Stay tuned for future great efforts in which CLS will partner with Helping Mamas!

Friday, April 24 –  Family & Friends Friday

In this world of technology, the handwritten note is a lost art nowadays.  Yet, the power of sending and receiving a note of thanks, gratitude or expressing love and kindness is still relevant!  CLS members mailed “thinking of you” cards and handwritten notes to friends and family.  Everyone needs some love shown to them right now and the ladies used the power of the handwritten note/card and brought sunshine to someone’s day! 

Saturday, April 25 – (Volunteer Week Closing Ceremony) Self Care Saturday

The final day of National Volunteer Week presented an opportunity for CLS members to pamper and love on themselves.  Some of the ladies used this day to order carryout from their favorite restaurant, take a walk, purchase a spa day for future use or simply enjoyed soaking up the sunshine on their patio or yard.  

It was an amazing week celebrating National Volunteer Week for Classy Living Society!  At the heart of CLS is its service to the community and its special attention to its members.  The current pandemic challenged CLS to become creative with its celebration of this annual event – the challenge was accepted and accomplished!    Just one of many reasons that CLS is known as the national women’s community service organization with an innovative approach to volunteerism.  We join hands with Points of Light in their statement that “doing good comes in many forms, and we recognize and celebrate them all.”

Opening Ceremony – Honor Our Caregivers

Love Thy Neighbor Monday

 

Love Thy Neighbor Monday

Love Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor Monday

First Responders Love Day

First Responders Love Day

Beauty Industry Love Day

 

Family and Friends Day

Family and Friends Day

Self-Care Saturday

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Each quarter, CLS hosts a mixer to usher in new members who joined during the previous quarter, acclimate them to the organization and give them a chance to get to know the CLS team, and their fellow new members.  Although this quarter’s mixer could not be held in person because of social distancing during the current pandemic, the festivities were still on!  The 2nd Quarter New Member Mixer was held on April 4 as a classy virtual get-together!

The new members, along with CLS Founder, LaShanda Pitts, the CLS Founding Sisters and the CLS team assembled via video conference for an afternoon of getting to know one another, getting to know all about the wonderful workings of CLS, networking and having fun!  Awesome raffle prizes were awarded and the ladies learned a few easy exercises to stay fit while sitting at their desks from fitness expert LaSonya Jones.  Karteua Gaddist Saddler spoke to the ladies about her nonprofit organization, Silver Lining SDS, whose goal is to train adults with social and intellectual disabilities to work in the community.  They also learned about the Classy Talkers, CLS’s own chapter of Toastmasters International and the importance of volunteering.

“The 2nd Quarter New Member Mixer was exactly what I needed,” Founder LaShanda Pitts said after the mixer.  “Although I was a little sad that we couldn’t come together in person, I enjoyed our virtual time together and it confirmed that Classy Living Society will not be held back. We will serve our community and continue to make an impact virtually or in person.”

‘Tis true, the CLS vision to give back, socialize and inspire keeps on keeping on even when we are all told to shelter in, stay at home and quarantine.  CLS never backs down from its vision!  The 2nd Quarter VIRTUAL New Member Mixer was nothing short of amazing.  Welcome to all of the new members!

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As part of Classy Living Society’s educational series CLS Talks, on April 7, CLS members settled in at their homes and learned a number of very important pointers involving financial health.  Holly R. Toodle, CPA presented “How to Survive a Financial Interruption” and provided practical tips on how to manage personal finances and the financial stress related to times of  financial uncertainty.  This was a much needed and highly appropriate forum in light of the financial setbacks experienced by some during the current pandemic.  CLS Talks is part of CLS’s continued effort to offer its members unique and exciting connections that promote growth and sisterhood bonding. It’s all about learning, self-care and something to enjoy!

Ms. Toodle, is an award-winning author, speaker, and Certified Financial Education Instructor.

Website: https://themasterplaybook.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Themasterplaybook

Twitter: https://twitter.com/masterplaybook/

Instagram: @themasterplaybook

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Classy Living Society is pleased to congratulate and welcome CLS member Sharon McDougle on her acceptance as Executive Advocate for Houston, Texas and surrounding areas. Sharon will play a pivotal role in expanding CLS’ presence and assist in launching the CLS Society in our sister city.  In this important position, Sharon will be responsible for providing support, leadership and aid in the building of CLS’ Houston Society.  

Let’s get to know our Houston Executive Advocate…

Sharon was born and raised in Moss Point, Mississippi.  After graduating from high school, she had the honor of serving in the Air Force Physiological Support Division for over seven years. After leaving the Air Force, Sharon had the opportunity to work with NASA’s Space Shuttle Program as a Crew Escape Equipment (CEE) Suit Technician for 22 years. She was the first African American to serve in that department.  Sharon soon became the first and only African American woman Crew Chief, as well as the first and only African American woman to manage the department. She has been considered a “Modern Day Hidden Figure”. Sharon’s suited up many astronauts, but her most memorable suiting was Dr. Mae Jemison for her historic trip into space.  

Sharon has had many positive influences in her life but those who influenced her the most were her teachers and especially her oldest sister, Erma Jean Martin. Sharon lost both of her parents at an early age and lived with her sister and her family after she turned seven years old. She has no doubt that her sister helped her to become the woman she is today. 

She currently lives in La Porte, Texas with her wonderful husband Maronald and her two amazing children, Dominique and Corbin.  

Sharon told us about her relationship with CLS…

Sharon was invited and attended the 2019 Red Dress Gala. At the Gala, she felt the love and extreme sisterhood in the room and that did it!  Sharon joined CLS after hearing all of the amazing things the organization was doing in the community. She knew that this was the organization she needed to be a part of. Sharon signed up to be part of CLS at the Gala!

To Sharon, being a part of CLS means volunteering, sisterhood and fun – three of her favorite things!  Being a member means being a servant. Community service is important to Sharon because helping others has been a passion of hers for a long time.  She feels that there’s no better way to give back to the community than through an amazing organization like CLS. 

Fun facts about Sharon…

Sharon loves to dress up in costumes and read to children. She says she’s very adventurous and a little bit of a daredevil; she’s gone skydiving, held an alligator and a python and has been involved in axe throwing activities. 

Other good stuff about Sharon

Sharon is a busy lady!  In addition to her commitment to CLS, she volunteers with Unveiled Aspirations and the Khambrel Foundation. Sharon is also a Houston Brand Ambassador for “That Girl”.

Sharon we wish you well on your Executive Advocate journey. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to CLS!

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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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