The foster care system isn’t known for offering much career guidance, so young women who spend time in it must figure out the intricacies of college and job applications, interview etiquette and resume building on their own.
But thanks to nonprofit organizations Project Glimmer and Ticket to Dream, three foster youth—all recent graduates—got to spend a day improving their own job prospects and meeting other women who have overcome their own challenges to achieve fame and success.
"Graduation was a huge accomplishment for these foster grads, and this day was all about empowering and inspiring them to believe in themselves," said Chrissy Shea, executive director of Project Glimmer, which provides gifts for women and teenage girls in need. On hand to offer guidance were three women represented by The Lions Model Management: Victoria’s Secret model and Muay Thai fighter Gracie Carvalho, Calvin Klein model and activist Ebonee Davis and Stella McCartney model Kenya Kinski-Jones, daughter of music producer Quincy Jones. All are women of color succeeding in a Eurocentric industry.
"We wanted to bring together models who came from diverse backgrounds and had varied personal experiences to serve as role models for these young women," said Julia Kisla, CEO and managing partner at The Lions.
Ticket to Dream, which provides school supplies and necessities to current and former foster children, connected the three graduates, who have just completed either high school or college but needed help getting into the workforce. "Foster youth often look for relatable role models, and The Lions models fit this need—strong, focused females that overcame obstacles to get where they are today," Shea said.
In addition to meeting the models, the grads attended a career workshop hosted by Women In Wireless, which included a one-on-one session on resume & LinkedIn page building. On-call beauty service Glamsquad and Redken provided makeup and hair care ahead of a professional photoshoot to use as LinkedIn profile pictures.
Project Glimmer also gave each of them a gift bag with jewelry from Rocksbox, Redken and Sephora products and Target gift cards to help the grads prepare for job interviews.
Select World, a creative agency that specializes in beauty and fashion, created the videos, behind-the-scenes footage and social posts from the event, as part of a pro bono campaign. "It was important to create a campaign that would garner awareness and result in a variety of shareable assets for Project Glimmer. We wanted to give all involved parties a voice and a platform to inspire others by promoting the initiative," said Sabrina Yu, managing director, New York at Select World. "Seeing how genuinely inspired and energized these graduates were and what impact this day of empowerment had on them reaffirmed how important it is to support our young women."
As for the grads themselves, it took a while to get used to being the center of attention. But they were most excited by getting to know women they had only seen before in photos, exchanging contact and profile information with real celebrities. After Kinski-Jones found her feed, one of the grads, Destiny, exclaimed, "I can't believe someone famous is following me on social!"