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  • Dear Momma....The best advice my mother ever gave me

    Dear Momma....The best advice my mother ever gave me

    Early on Tuesday morning, I sent Anneka a birthday text followed by "What's the BEST advice your mother ever gave you?" We both agreed that was way too hard to just pick one.  I don't know what it is about mother's but they are truly women full of so much wisdom and insight, it's literally mind blowing how deeply connected they are and how much they know. God literally took his time crafting women, they are truly MAGIC!

    We both laugh at the time periods where we thought our mother's didn't know anything; we just knew they were old and out of touch with reality but if we look back our mother's had the best insight on bad friends, toxic relationships, when were sad, frustrated and just tired. Mothers are so loving and patient and no matter how tired they were they keep pushing.

    We could name the million times our mothers have come through on behalf of Show Me Shoes Foundation and of course in our personal lives with the many disappointments, heartbreaks, failures, mood swings and supporting our dreams. So as everyone is honoring mothers this weekend we wanted to share a few of the amazing gems our mothers have shared with us over the years.

    "Dont QUIT, EVER!" - Anneka's Mom

    "No matter what, ALWAYS PRAY" -Shivon's Mom

    "Get those people off your wings, it's too much to carry"-Shivon's Mom

    "Don't allow anyone other than GOD to determine your destiny" Anneka's Mom

    "You're Beautiful" (Both Mom's)

    Happy Mother's Day! What's the best gem of advice your mother has given you?

  • SMYRNA AND SHOW ME SHOES FOUNDATION KICK OFF ATLANTA’S 2017 PROM SEASON

    By: Valencia Joseph

    Smyrna is slaying it!

    Smyrna is the home of the new Atlanta Braves @ Sun Trust Stadium which will make its grand debut in a few short weeks. Smyrna is the home of I Fly, the only Atlanta area indoor skydiving simulator or as I affectionately call it, the “wind tunnel on steroids.” Smyrna is smack dab in the middle of both Interstates 75 and 285, making it easy-peasy to get anywhere in metro Atlanta in a snap. With nature trails, beautiful homes and fabulous restaurants, Smyrna’s highlights are its crown jewels. 

    The sparkling philanthropic gemstone in its crown of jewels -- Show Me Shoes Foundation – chose Smyrna as its “Prom in the City” Prom Project event destination and home base, helping Smyrna slay Atlanta’s 2017 Prom Season kick off! Last month, on Sunday March 12, hordes of high school girls and parents converged on the Atlanta Marriott Northwest hotel for three hours to excitedly sift through their pick of hundreds of gowns and party dresses in all sizes that the girls will wear to prom this year! Not only were dresses and shoes fitted and provided to girls who found a match, but hair and makeup prizes were awarded, gifting lucky winners professional, custom services on their special day.

    The creators of Show Me Shoes Foundation, Anneka Jenkins and Shiv’on Bullock started the non-profit organization as a way to connect with, elevate and enrich the lives of teen girls who are ambitious and smart, but who may need a guiding hand to navigate the unfamiliar and uncharted waters in life. Since both founders are shoe lovers and from Kansas City, Missouri (the show mestate), there was no better way to combine their two faves-- and Show Me Shoes Foundation was born. They created the platform tagline, “rebuilding confidence, starting from the sole” and went to work doing just that. 

    Proms are a massively expensive undertaking these days and young folks want to do it up big! From pricey attire and accessories, to big-ticket transportation, to lavish make-up, to globally-imported hair extensions, added to the cost of the actual prom ticket itself, a prom can set parents back a pretty penny. Show Me Shoes Foundationhas found a creative, fun-filled way to help offset costs to participating families by gifting girls with dresses/shoes/accessories and having beauty bars and hair stylists on site showing the girls how to beautify for the big event, all aimed at helping take the burden off of mom and dad. The prom dress initiative was an idea that came to Shiv’on while watching ELLEN on television. Ellen featured a young girl going door to door collecting dresses for a prom give away to needy families. Shiv’on called Anneka and told her they should do the same thing through their foundation. Shiv’on wanted Show Me Shoes to be a prom expense solution for girls and families. Their solution now serves four cities, Atlanta, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Chicago. The LA and KC events were both off-the-charts successes! A fifth city, to be announced later this year, will be added for the 2018 prom season!

    “Our families are made up of all family types… single moms, dual-parent households, single dads, kids who recently lost parents, moms fighting cancer, grandmothers raising their grand kids, you name it, we help them all. We enjoy being a blessing to families,” said foundation organizers Anneka and Shiv’on. They understand that for some families, the expense can mean a choice between making their child’s big night dreams come true and paying the rent or other bills that month. 

    Wondering how or why Shiv’on and Anneka, who both work at full-time jobs, make the time to do so much for so many? Both young women see themselves in these girls and the foundation’s work makes them feel alive. Anneka was already mentoring girls when she and Shiv’on joined forces. However, getting the foundation off the ground was a saving grace for Shiv’on, as it came after a huge career disappointment and deep depression. Shiv’on had excitedly accepted an opportunity to work in South Korea after grad school only to have the opportunity suddenly fall through. Talk about heartbreak. She told everyone she was leaving the U.S., had a going away party, everyone gave her kudos on social media, then the rug was pulled out from under before her departure date. She was broken, embarrassed and wanted to disappear and hide in the loving arms of her parents. Shiv’on’s dad gave her the time she needed to grieve, then persuaded her to get back on the horse of life and make her mark on the world. She picked up the pieces and began rebuilding her life. It’s a story she often shares with girls to demonstrate a real-life example of a smashing comeback.

    Both Anneka and Shiv’on also know what it’s like to want someone other than mom to talk to and bounce ideas off. “We know it’s easy for girls to hear encouraging words from mom, but it’s mom so she has to say nice things. We provide opportunities for girls’ talent, beauty and abilities to be championed and validated by successful women who aren’t biased by being their mom.” That’s the best confidence booster there is! 

    Show Me Shoes started with initiatives to just collect shoes to distribute to girls, but as they connected with their constituents, they found a much bigger need. They’ve created master classes that expose girls to career options and fields that aren’t being talked about or taught in school. We’ve shown them what it’s like to work in areas they barely knew existed. Show Me Shoes works with school counselors to identify interested girls and have toured Atlanta’s CDC and Radio One studios, where the girls met women working in STEM fields and in all areas of radio production. They came in thinking “oh, I can be the on-air personality,” but we had them tour every department from accounting, to traffic, to programming, to marketing and commercial production. Girls who originally had sights set on being in fashion careers or opening an online store, learned the range of salaries STEM careers can command and the wheels began turning. It opened their eyes to a world of possibilities! 

    Show Me Shoes targets the ambitious girl, who often doesn’t have a mentor or may sometimes feel like the underdog because she doesn’t have high-level connections. She may have insecurities and the mentorship is a vehicle to build self-esteem, and pass along information and advice via a platform that helps the girls feel loved and safe. Getting them knowledgeable while they’re still in high school provides them a larger viewpoint and first-hand experiences that helps them make more informed decisions in college.

    The foundation’s creators know they can’t do the Prom Project and master classes alone and give all credit and thanks to individual volunteers and corporate supporters in each city who raise their hands and ask, how can we help? Major contributors have been the city of Atlanta and Kansas City, the venues who donate space, the CDC of Atlanta, Radio One who has provided local radio and social media support since first prom project seven years ago, 3D Girls Inc. and Take Flight Girls Inc., both of which have hosted dress drives for us, in addition to many individual dress donors via volunteers who host dress drives at their jobs.

    The foundation founders love having conversations with and getting to know the parents. It’s a joy to hear how much this helps them. The most rewarding part for Shiv’on and Anneka is seeing the girls’ eyes light up at the dress options, seeing them have fun looking through and finding the PERFECT dress that is so them. One future prom goer, Chenoa Tyehimba, who was skeptical that she’d get a dress, was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Chenoa shared, “I am so happy I found one that fit my personality completely and it was totally what I was looking for.” Chenoa also enjoyed meeting other girls and getting each other’s opinion on dresses and fit.

    The hardest part? “Figuring out what to feed the volunteers,” quips Anneka.  On a more candid note, they both note that dealing with venue rules is sometimes tough. Some want you to purchase their food. The Marriott has really been a god send and bent the rules slightly for us. 

    If you have a giving spirit, DO IT! Give for the joy and the gift of giving and for the joy of helping young people enjoy the fun events of their youth without worrying about money.

    Advice to future philanthropists… Don’t stop, keep going! Get your ideas going and don’t wait for paperwork to be complete. That takes time, meanwhile families, kids, etc., need your help. “No one cares that your paperwork isn’t ready yet. They care about what you’re doing for the community,” say Shiv’on and Anneka. They also say, “don’t fret or change your mind if someone is already doing what you’re thinking about doing. You still move forward. You will touch different souls and reach additional people that need help. Every sphere of reach is different.” Other words of advice, find creative solutions for the problems you’re seeing in your community, start in your city but don’t be afraid to partner with people or organizations that are like-minded to branch out and expand your dream.

  • Spring Brings New Beginnings : Be open to change and letting go

    Spring Brings New Beginnings : Be open to change and letting go

    Spring Brings New Beginnings "Nature never rushes, yet everything is accomplished"

    Spring has always been a favorite time of mine, we get to see the dead things in nature start to flourish again, daylight savings brings more light, the weather is warmer and the excitement for summer coming makes the days go by faster (in my mind).

    Many people are ending fast for Lent, some are peparing for Ramadan and others are on high alert for Mercury Retrograde (whatever you believe in) spring not only brings change in  weather but I often notice during this time some major and subtle changes in my life start to occur. We often aren't prepared for these changes but I believe that GOD created nature and seasons as a gentle reminder that change is coming and to be patient.

    Last year I was walking to my local library and I took a moment to notice this large tree that sits on my parents property, I couldn't help but to remember just a few months ago this tree was green and blooming with beautiful flowers and now in the middle of winter this same exact tree was bare, dry and brittle but I knew that in a few months when spring arrives this tree would begin it's transformation to the beautiful blooming tree I remembered. (stay with me.....lol) Let this be a gentle reminder that our lives will go through some beautiful seasons and some dry seasons but everything changes and those seasons that make us very uncomfortable are brief and we will see a beautiful time again just like the tree in my parents yard.

    It's very difficult for us to embrace unexpected change in a career, relationship, family or a life altering event. Life is cyclical, the "good moments" , "not so good moments" and during these times no matter how long they may last, we can learn to accept that at some point this season or moment will change and that in order to endure whatever season we must learn to be present and just enjoy because it will change, it always changes.

    Be super intentional this season  and spend  time  alone and  hit the reset button, go enjoy life for yourself:

    • set up a picnic and journal and eat your favorite food or snacks
    • go ride bikes
    • visit a art gallery
    • try a new hair color
    • visit your local city market
    • try a yoga class or just take a day off social media and rest.

    Spring Cleaning: ask yourself what are you letting go of that you can't control? Are you open and willing to enjoy each moment no matter what? What daily prayer and mantra will get you through the not so good times?  Are there some people and things that you should let go of that is no longer serving you?

  • Show Me Shoes Foundation's Prom Project Purpose is BIGGER Than Just Giving Out Free Dresses

    Show Me Shoes Foundation's Prom Project Purpose is BIGGER Than Just Giving Out Free Dresses

    It was around 7:00pm on Sunday night and we sent the official "WE DID IT!!!!!" text and of course we replied with the a million smiley faces and heart emojis of joy and relief. We have officially survived another season of prom giving and it was a wrap for Prom Project 7! With the addition of a new chapter, double donations, registrations, sponsors and volunteers on top of keeping up with our personal lives we were stretched but in good way.*pops champagne*

    I sat in my car for about two hours scrolling and reposting through the hashtag of pictures and videos from the final event in Chicago. My battery was on five percent, so I started heading home and the tears just flowed down my face. I wasn't sad but overwhelmed with gratitude and blown away that we were able to work with so many AMAZING BLACK WOMEN. It was a full circle moment to see the volunteers and business owners who are women of color come together and help 500+ teen girls find the perfect prom dress but most importantly "Build confidence from the SOLE."

    This was the epitome of hashtag BLACK GIRL MAGIC from the venue owners, bakers, stylist, DJ's, photographers, vendors and volunteers all women of color and working together for a great cause just gave me chills.

    We are constantly exposed to negative images and stereotypes​ about black women on social media and popular television shows. The constant negative dialogue that black women are rude, mean and catty with each other has been recycled too long and our goal as a black female owned and operated organization is to dispel those myths and show younger girls more positive images. The truth is, black women are powerful, loving, kind and together we can move mountains and make magical things happen! *snaps fingers*

    We have been able to successfully bury that myth each year and show the teen girls who walk through the doors that WE did this for you, TOGETHER. We hope that the images of women of color is as impactful and exciting as getting the perfect dress for prom or at least planting the seed is something they will remember one day.

    This year we headed down south to Atlanta kicking things off then back out west to Los Angeles for the third year and made our way back to the Midwest in Kansas City with our final stop for the first time in Chicago where over 100 girls registered to find a dress for prom. This event is truly magical and the support that is received from the local communities is MIND BLOWING! 

    Our mission is to help the young ladies feel confident from Soul to SOLE and as we watch the transformation that happens to the girls from the time they walk in the doors until they leave, we know that this event is a positive footprint on the souls of these amazing young ladies.

    Thank you to everyone that helps to make Prom Project a successful event for the last 7 years! We look forward to 2018 and we are adding a new city! Can you guess where? Want to be part of this event next year email us for sponsorship opportunites: info@showmeshoes.org take a look at pictures and videos under our gallery www.showmeshoes.org