As we move into 2019, we would like to take a look back over the amazing year Classy Living Society has had and highlight some of the events, community service efforts and magical moments that made our fifth year great!

This year, CLS adopted a school in Nigeria – Angels Montessori School of Ikeja!  The proceeds from many of our upcoming fundraisers and give back initiatives will benefit the school by providing them with much-needed supplies and more.  The students put together an adorable heartfelt video thanking Founder LaShanda Pitts and CLS for adopting the school.  Speaking of adoptions…our Adopt-A-Road program really took off in 2018!  In our quest to help keep Georgia “peachy” clean, volunteers set out early on designated mornings to remove litter from our adopted roads in various counties in Georgia – as well as in Savannah!  CLS recognizes that being the change we want to see also means being advocates for litter-free  streets and roadways!

To open 2018 Volunteer week in April, CLS partnered with national organization Laundry Love to present a unique give-back event.  CLS and Laundry Love banded together to present Laundry Love – A Day of Clean Clothes at Cozy Clean Laundry, a laundromat in Decatur, Georgia.  Cozy Clean opened its doors to those in need to launder their clothing and linens free of charge.  Through donations, CLS provided the patrons with a laundry basket filled with detergent and fabric softener for use onsite, as well as to take home for future use.  Laundry Love is an organization whose sole mission is to partner with individuals, groups and laundromats all across America to assist low-income or no-income families and individuals by providing resources and opportunities for them to launder their clothing and linens.   

Do you love to read? We do too!  CLS sisters gathered twice this year to meet and discuss two books – No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts, and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  The Classy Woman Reads Book Club is designed to inspire women to think outside the box, socialize with like-minded women and READ! At the meetings, the ladies brought in their spare change to benefit LiftUpAtlanta.org, a non profit organization that is committed to helping the homeless and low income families in the metro Atlanta area. 

In May, CLS hosted a Members & Mom Brunch  in honor of Mother’s Day.  Members invited their mothers, grandmothers, and other beautiful ladies to come dressed in their favorite spring colors to enjoy a delectable brunch, raffles, inspirational speeches, and more. This delightful event allowed mothers, daughters, sisters, and grandmothers to celebrate each other, all while raising awareness to the mission of nonprofit organization City of Refuge, which is to partner with individuals and families in crisis, to clear a pathway out of poverty and to foster a thriving community.  Each attendee was asked to bring a new pillow to donate to City of Refuge.

In July, CLS sisters and guests gathered to #GetOnTheBus – and travel to sunny Savannah, Georgia to fellowship with one another and say hello to our Savannah sisters!  Embodying the summer season, the women wore sundresses and sun hats for a day of sisterhood and fun.  As a sisterhood bonding gesture, each lady was asked to bring a love gift of their favorite thing(s) to present to their seatmate to celebrate one another and our connection to each other. 55 women in beautiful sundresses and sun hats enjoyed a day trip designed to promote sisterhood, inspire and fellowship with members and friends.

As if that wasn’t enough travel, for five days and four nights in late August, the first CLS Travels excursion took 33 ladies to one of California’s most popular destinations – beautiful Santa Barbara!  The five days were filled with activity, including a welcome reception, winery tour and lunch, a beautiful all-white attire dinner on the beach, an all-yellow attire afternoon yacht trip and volunteering at the Braille Institute, where the travelers learned valuable information about aiding those who are blind or visually impaired. We can’t wait to see what luxurious trips CLS Travels hosts next!

In November, CLS volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta and served a delicious Thanksgiving brunch to resident families.  Ronald McDonald House provides a home environment, support and resources for families with ill children while the children receive treatment and care at nearby hospitals.  

And then, of course, November 11 brought us the beautiful 5th Annual Red Dress Gala!  The Sisterhood Gala drew 350+ sisters to the Ballroom of the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North and the energy was amazing!  It was a festive celebration of CLS’ fifth anniversary — an afternoon of beautiful red dresses, luxurious decor, entertainment, award presentations, speeches and the announcement of CLS Volunteer of the Year, Mrs. Janice Campbell.

This year’s Gala was hosted in partnership with Legacy for Change, whose mission is to extend a longer reach into the community – by endeavoring to inspire, mobilize and encourage young girls who are on a quest to help change the world.   Through an online raffle which preceded the Gala coupled with attendee ticket sales, a whopping $3500 was raised for Legacy for Change, to assist with the various programs connected to the organization.

During the holidays, CLS partnered with the Salvation Army to assist at Angel Tree registration stations in various area malls.  CLS volunteers were charged with the task of assisting generous donors select printed cards listing the Christmas wishes of families that are hung on the “Angel Tree.”  After the donors purchase gifts for the families, they are to return the gifts back to the Angel Tree location for further distribution.  Volunteers later spent a Saturday morning assisting in the distribution of the purchased gifts before pickup by families.  CLS volunteers at Angel Tree events each year, and it is quite a rewarding and worthwhile experience.

On December 20, CLS celebrated the holidays at their annual Mingle Jingle celebration.  This year’s holiday mixer was held at the Taylor-Brawner Hall in Smyrna, Georgia.  In our last giving campaign of the year, CLS hosted a coat drive to support One Warm Coat, by collecting coats for children in need, ages 3 months to 5 years in sizes 3mos to 6x.  By the end of the event, the coat drive amassed 150+ coats for children!  Viewing the huge mound of coats and knowing that they will keep many children warm this winter was a very moving and gratifying experience.  One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a free warm coat to any person in need.

Last but not least, this year, CLS launched Chronicles Too!, an online magazine which features amazing nonprofit organizations, awesome businesses and business owners, people doing great things in the community and more.  CLS also introduced the #KeepGoing Award — an annual award presented to individuals selected from the Chronicles Too! features!  The award is designed to recognize those who inspire others and demonstrate tireless effort in giving back to the community.  CLS believes in providing support to these individuals – to let them know we are behind them all the way, and to encourage them to #keepgoing. 2018 honorees include: TV star Page Turner, co-star of the HGTV hit show Flip or Flop Nashville, Chef Lasheeda Perry, winner and finalist on two Food Network specials, and Panya Dixon, author of the Amazon bestselling book Why Didn’t You Ask.  The awards were presented at this year’s Red Dress Gala.

To be sure, this article cannot possibly highlight the totality of the amazing events and initiatives in CLS’ year 2018!  There are many more and as we continue, there will be many more!  Looking ahead, CLS endeavors to expand our initiatives, grow our membership rolls and evolve with the changing times.  We will continue to be the change we desire to see in the world, by partnering with other nonprofits and bringing awareness to the causes we are passionate about.  We vow to continue to foster sisterhood bonding and work side by side with our entrepreneurial members so that their businesses continue to grow and thrive.  It is quite a privilege to serve the community as we go into our sixth year!

Our very best wishes to you and your family and friends for a prosperous 2019!  Happy New Year!