Classy Chronicles – Classy Living Society
Classy Living Society is committed to ensuring its members are in the best of health! By advocating for healthy lifestyles and physical activities to promote strong bodies and foster amazing minds, CLS helps its members maintain and enjoy tip-top health!
In July, CLS joined the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer by participating in a 30-mile walk/run challenge. The objective was to walk or run a total of 30 miles between July 1 and July 30. Congratulations to CLS members Alicia Booker and Olivia Rudder-Wilson for completing the Challenge! CLS made a donation to the American Cancer Society in each of their names.
A donation to the American Cancer Society helps fund cancer research, education, advocacy and patient and family services. This amazing organization does so many great things for those whose lives are touched by cancer. Most people know them for their research, but they attack cancer from every angle! They promote healthy lifestyles to help cancer prevention. They research cancer and its causes to find more answers and better treatments. They fight for life saving policy changes. They also provide everything from emotional support to the latest cancer information for those who have been touched by cancer. Visit their website for more information on what they do or click the “donate” button and be a part of furthering their efforts.
American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/
The Classy Living Society Wine Club made up of wine connoisseurs (and novices too!) participates in monthly events when girl time, sipping wine and wine education is the order of the day! These events are held at various wine establishments around town and recently, the Club got together at Corks and Cuvée Wine and Gift Shoppe in historic downtown Conyers, Georgia.
Corks and Cuvée is a Black woman-owned full-service wine shop that offers retail wine by the bottle, private tastings, walk-up tasting station, and awesome charcuterie boards. And it’s super cute! Owner, Founder, and Principal Wine Consultant Regina Jackson is a joy to meet and she shared the story of her emergence from corporate America to the accomplished sommelier she is today. As the Club members enjoyed tasting their flights of wine, Regina also shared her extensive knowledge about wine! To get to know a little more about Regina, tap your mouse on the link below for a VoyageATL article all about her. Visit Corks and Cuvée, you will love it!
Each month, a portion of Wine Club dues is advanced toward the purchase of small appliances, laundry items, etc. In connection with the July event, the CLS Wine Club put dues to work by donating $100 to Gigi’s House to purchase toasters for the young women they serve. Gigi’s House is dedicated to serving girls ages 13-19 who are victims of sex trafficking. We provide a safe home in a faith-based loving environment.
Stay tuned for news on upcoming CLS Wine Club adventures!
Corks and Cuvée website: https://www.corksandcuvee.com/
Regina Jackson VoyageATL article: http://voyageatl.com/interview/meet-regina-jackson-corks-cuvee-conyers-ga/
Gigi’s House: https://www.gigishouseatl.org/
Written by Janine Lattimore
Going on a shopping spree has such a different impact when giving back to the community is involved! With the knowledge that a portion of the dollars from your purchase goes to a worthy cause, buying extra just became easier and more fun!
That’s what CLS members did on Saturday, August 8 at its Cocktails & Clutches event! The event was held at Barbie’s Shoe Closet, just outside of Atlanta, where fashionably dressed CLS sisters with statement clutches under their arms, shopped the afternoon away!
The boutique donated $161.96, 10% of the afternoon’s sales, to Redeeming Smiles, a nonprofit organization committed to providing dental funding to the underserved and uninsured; particularly with rare dental disparities. Classy Living Society will round the donation amount up to $500. In addition, all who attended the mixer brought a donation of dental products: toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, you name it! Chanadria Burrell, Founder and CEO of Redeeming Smiles, and her mother were on hand to meet and greet everyone and secure the donations. “…the collection was beyond what we even prepared for!” said Ms. Burrell, upon discovering the avalanche of donated products! Find out more about Ms. Burrell’s organization and how you can make a donation to this worthwhile cause @ https://linktr.ee/RedeemingSmilesInc.
Speaking of giving back while shopping, CLS’s own line of socially conscious lipsticks were set up at the event, showcasing their Late Summer Heat line of lip colors! Have you seen them? Such delicious shades! As you may know when you purchase a SHADE lip color, $2 from each purchase is donated to a number of non-profit organizations that are making a difference in the lives of people who need it most. Head on over to their website and order your SHADE! https://iwearshade.com/
While shopping and mingling, the ladies sipped on refreshing fruity sangria, especially mixed for the day, and munched on delicious tacos. It was a perfect day filled with good food, good company, sisterhood, shopping, and most of all – giving back! Now that’s Classy!
Written by Janine Lattimore
When it comes to service, the spotlight’s on this classy lady who knows the true meaning of the word. Since her late 20’s, Darnise has made her desire to serve her community a reality. She started her volunteer journey with local non-profits and other organizations such as the YMCA’s Battered Women’s Shelter, The Urban League, and her church. She says that her thoughts have always centered around her motto, “I do what I can, when I can to leave this place better off.”
Darnise says she had a great childhood with her two older sisters and one younger brother. Now speaking of her childhood…you may ask about her name. Well, according to this classy lady, her legal name is Danise St. Andrew, but her friends and family call her Darnise. It was never clear if her parents just misspelled her name or if it was the result of a southern drawl…rolling the r’s. That would not be surprising, especially since her mom is from Atlanta, Ga. and her dad is from Opelousas, L.A.
Being raised in Toledo, Ohio, better known as “The Glass City”, and having lived there for over 50 years, Darnise says she was fortunate enough to live in a great, safe neighborhood where she could ride bikes, play kickball, chase ice cream trucks, participate in cheerleading, visit parks and yes…get into fights. Being picked on and bullied because of her light skin complexion was something Darnise was too familiar with, even though she’s been told that she was the one that started most of the fights! Imagine that!! This is still a debatable subject at her neighborhood reunions, but she’s especially grateful that they all do stay in touch with each other.
Darnise earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toledo with a concentration on Business Management. She’s especially proud that she completed her degree while working full time, divorced and with two kids. Now that’s strength! Darnise earned a Master’s degree from Lourdes University in Organizational Leadership.
Spending the early years of her career in the customer service/call center environment, Darnise was the Call Center Manager for Columbia Gas of Ohio. She then began working for Owens Corning World Headquarters and held various positions in the supply chain. Her last position with that company was Process Expert/Business analyst for SAP system upgrades. Darnise is currently employed with Novelis North America as a Pricing Leader, leading a team of pricing analysts, responsible for end-to-end price administration, analysis, and process excellence.
Darnise has two adult children. Her oldest is her favorite son, 33-year-old Chad Ware. He’s married with three sons and is an Assistant Director of Insurance Operations at Ohio National Financial Services. Her second is her 32-year-old favorite daughter, Brooke Ware-Hickman. She’s married and recently ended her career as a Social Worker for Children’s Services to pursue her dream job as a Make-up Artist/Esthetician. Darnise says she’s so proud!
After supporting her two children through college and then caring for her elderly parents that have since passed on, Darnise decided to move south in January 2015 for two good reasons.
- She always wanted to experience living in the south for the scenic views and the warm weather.
- She was determined to be with the man she was dating, who now happens to be her amazing husband and her best friend.
After moving to Gwinnett County, Georgia in 2017, and once again focusing on doing what she could, when she could; Darnise decided there was work that needed to be done for the 2020 elections. In 2019 and 2020, she served as the President of the Gwinnett Federation of Democratic Women. Darnise and her team provided candidates with forums, disseminated information, and more. She’s extremely proud of the work she did as Gwinnett made national news with increased general voter and minority voter turnout. Many women and minorities are now in key elected positions in Gwinnett County and her team helped flip the county blue. They also assisted in the delivery of the overall numbers for the state of Georgia, which also flipped blue.
It was an effortless transition for service when Darnise found herself scrolling through Facebook looking at the lovely ladies of Classy Living Society on their Get On The Bus volunteer effort post. She saw smiles, she saw the pride, and she definitely saw the passion for service. Darnise wondered, “what is this CLS all about?” She knew she wanted more information. From the very beginning, Darnise felt that CLS was right in line with her purpose of giving back to the community. There was no doubt that she was at a point in her life where she wanted to have fun and experience joy in whatever she found herself doing.
Darnise enjoys reading autobiographies and likes learning and understanding how folks deal with adversities and end up finding joy.
She loves to travel to new places and learn about different cultures. Darnise has been to most of the islands in the Caribbean and she was just starting her international travel with her first trip to Italy. Then came the Covid 19 Pandemic.
When asked what brings her the most joy, Darnise lists these things (not necessarily in this order)…
*A walk in the park
*Chocolate chip cookies
*Laughing with my husband
*My kids and grandkids
*Peace and relaxation
Darnise often reflects on her favorite quote “The secret to having it all, is knowing that you already do.” Being a member of CLS has only helped reinforce the belief that yes…Darnise has it all when it comes to positively impacting the community.
Congratulations to Darnise…our Oh So Classy Spotlight!
A number of Classy Living Society sister-friends flew the friendly skies recently to meet up in the major resort city internationally known for glitz, glamour, good food & casinos – Las Vegas, Nevada!
The ultimate girl trip was promoted by CLS’ Weekend Give-Away Project (give-away = go “away” to “give” back)! Give-Away trips are economical weekend excursions to various U.S. cities to participate in special community service initiatives, create sisterhood bonding and bring awareness to CLS and the causes it is passionate about…which, of course, includes FUN!
It was a long weekend of laughter, hugs, and sister-love plus good food, great wine and cocktails, casino visits, shopping, a day-long pool party, and the highlight – R&B superstar Usher’s opening night concert of his Las Vegas residency!
Prior to the concert, the ladies got together at a Yellow Top Welcome Reception at El Segundo del Sol, a Mexican restaurant located on the Strip. Yellow tops were worn in honor of those who have lost their fight against human sex trafficking and support for survivors. The attendees brought journals, Amazon gift cards, and other inspirational items to be donated to Refuge for Women – Las Vegas. To top it off, CLS donated $300 for household supplies for the women served by the nonprofit.
Refuge for Women is a nonprofit, faith-based organization providing specialized long-term care for women who have escaped human trafficking or sexual exploitation. With multiple locations across the U.S., Refuge for Women offers up to twelve months of safe housing at no charge to the resident, with around-the-clock care as residents progress through evidence-based, trauma-informed programming.
Las Vegas owed the CLS ladies nothing after their girl trip came to an end! It was truly a great opportunity to socialize, inspire and give back! Viva Las Vegas and Viva CLS!
For more information on Refuge for Women – Las Vegas visit https://www.rfwlasvegas.org/
CLS realizes the key to a greener planet is in all of our hands and is proud of its mission to promote earth-friendly initiatives that relate to conservation and preservation and this includes ridesharing! That’s why when the opportunity recently arose to give back to the community and include ridesharing, CLS was all in!
Members packed and delivered meals to the beloved seniors in our community for Meals on Wheels Atlanta (MOWA) on Saturday, July 10. With two to three members per car, CLS sisters motored around to assigned residences to deliver meals.
MOWA is making a difference in metro Atlanta by supporting senior independence through meals, shelter, education, and community. Founded in 1965 to support seniors struggling with poverty, food insecurity, and social isolation, MOWA has grown from a small soup kitchen to an organization serving more than 600,000 meals each year throughout the Atlanta area. They have also expanded their program offerings to respond to other critical needs in the community. They now offer multiple services to support both older adults and veterans, including home-delivered and congregate meals, home repair services, and a food pantry for both seniors and their pets. Amazing!
What a great morning! Through this endeavor, when CLS members ride together to volunteer, they promote a friendly environment by improving air quality, conserving non-renewable energy resources and saving time all while giving back. In addition, they foster sisterhood and friendship! It’s a win-win-win situation! Now that’s Classy!
For more information on Meals on Wheels Atlanta, visit their website: https://mowatl.org/
For more information on Classy Living Society’s Go Green initiative CLS Cares, visit https://cls-volunteer.org/cls-cares/
Written by Janine Lattimore
Look in the dictionary under classy lady and you’ll find Moretta’s name. She’s a true testament to service and dedication and as an Oh So Classy CLS member, Moretta takes her commitment to help others seriously. She says she’s always had a tremendous spirit of giving and that’s exactly why she joined an organization like Classy Living Society. Paying it forward has been and continues to be a strong mantra that allows her to live life as a servant leader. Moretta firmly believes that CLS gives her many ample, unique, and rewarding opportunities to share her time and talents through service. Talk about blessings, Moretta says…” it is a tremendous blessing to be able to help those who are less fortunate than I am through so many various acts of volunteerism.” Building a powerful partnership with like-minded women who seek to empower and improve the lives of others is what Moretta strived for. Being a member of CLS has given Moretta the opportunity to do just that. She was looking for a group of dedicated ladies not only to volunteer with but to also share incredible life experiences.
CLS fit right into her plans, especially after becoming an empty nester when her daughter Moranda left home for school. Moretta describes her daughter as being both beautiful and amazing and lets her pride shine when she fondly speaks of her daughter’s accomplishments.
Moretta grew up on the picturesque Mississippi Gulf Coast, in Moss Point, where she enjoyed opportunities for fishing, walking in beautiful outdoor parks, luxury resorts, restaurants, and other unique attractions. After graduating from Alabama State University with a degree in Accounting/Business Management, she moved to the Atlanta area where she’s been a proud resident for 33 years.
Moretta’s business acumen is extensive. She originally worked for corporate America in the banking industry, then eventually ended up working for the famed Coca-Cola Company for 17 years. Moretta acknowledges that it was a challenge working in corporate America and being a hard-working single parent, especially considering that her job required 60% travel. These perceived hardships gave her the ability to totally empathize with others. She understood a single mother’s plight and totally understood the obstacles.
In 2004, Moretta made the decision to change careers and she transferred her impressive skill set to work in one of the local school districts. She realized her true passion when she started working with students, parents, and other stakeholders. This soon became a very rewarding experience for her. Moretta says that it is extremely fulfilling to know that she has made an absolute impact on “at-risk” students over the years, by equipping them with the right resources and pathways for future success. She continues to stay committed in her quest to support students with their educational endeavors.
Besides experiencing and participating in the unique volunteer opportunities that CLS has to offer, Moretta sits on several board committees. One such committee is KDOW (Kids’- Doc- On- Wheels) which is a subsidiary of Decatur Pediatrics. This organization offers access to a program that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. The program is for children age 6-months through age 5. Moretta’s service knows no limits or boundaries!
Now, what does a classy lady like Moretta do when she has some spare time? She enjoys the art of vintage shopping where she usually secures the most unique finds. She has also traveled extensively to many destinations and she well knows about the expression “wheels up!”
Moretta has landed in exotic and remarkable places. Sophisticated Paris, beautiful Hawaii, glorious London, the tranquil blue Caribbean, the busy Panama Canal, and other European countries have been on her schedule. She’s enjoyed every experience she’s had in these amazing places and plans to continue to travel as soon as she can. Moretta also enjoys gardening in her yard which by the way has a lot of curb appeal. Moretta also loves spending quality time with her family and many friends. With the help of her new granddog Luda, she and her daughter have a great time creating memories that can be shared for years to come.
If you ask Moretta about her ministry, she’ll say that she definitely has one. Her ministry is her total commitment to serving the community and making a pledge to positively impact those in need.
Your light is shining brightly Moretta, so continue to be the classy star and solid volunteer that you are!
You are exactly where you’re supposed to be…
Do you ever get to the point when you just throw your hands up about a situation and say you’re just not going to worry about it anymore?
An albatross is a bird, but metaphorically, it is also used to describe something that burdens you…it follows you, weighs you down, and makes you feel as if you’ll never get rid of it. Be it a bad financial situation, a relationship that’s bereft with problems you can’t seem to solve, a child who’s giving you trouble, a weight loss journey … you name it. Oh, the struggle!
Then, all of a sudden, somehow you just arrive at that place. The part where you have suffered and fought for so long. The part where you’re tired of driving yourself headfirst into the storm. The part where you’re ready to let go and let God. That time, when you realize you’re not supposed to fight, but now you’re just supposed to flow, and let life happen.
When you get to that point, though, it doesn’t mean the problem or situation goes away! Oh no…it only means that you’ve decided not to exert the extra energy it takes to tussle with something that’s just not going to change right now. Doing so only adds to the strife, and takes your focus away from the valuable lesson you’re supposed to learn from the situation.
No more fight…it’s a moment of sweet release. But guess what else? More important than letting go is the realization that the position you’re in is where you’re supposed to be, even if you don’t understand it, and even if you don’t see how it’s going to turn out.
You are exactly where you’re supposed to be…
Although the future just ahead of you seems cloudy, concentrate on what the Spirit has for you today. Don’t worry! Lavish in the goodness of now! Keep up with your connection to the Universe…and before you know it, step by step, everything is alright, just like you knew it would be.