My daughter Beaner works for a not-for-profit that helps young people who have social disadvantages or have had some problems with the law try to get on a professional track. Last year she started working with a young high school student who wants to be a fashion designer. They started researching colleges and began working on her applications and the required portfolio. She had okay grades but an obvious talent for design, (said by a person who lives in baggy jeans and ‘Life is Good’ t-shirts) but all the fashion schools required that along with a portfolio of designs, that she submit photos of pieces she had made herself. She had a creative talent but she didn’t have a sewing machine and she didn’t know how to sew.
So Beaner got a sewing machine donated and then asked me to teach her. Almost every Tuesday night last year she and I would meet in Beaner’s offices to sew. She had to carry that heavy machine to school in the morning, and then on a city bus to get to the office and then another bus to get home. Her dedication to this effort has amazing. I just showed up and had a lot of fun.
A couple of days ago she got a rejection from her first choice college and we were all bummed.. But then yesterday came an acceptance to her second choice - FIT - the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City! She and Beaner are now feverishly working on scholarships.
My volunteer work these days centers mostly on elderly or sick people. But I see the appeal of working with young folks and my daughter’s career goals of “just being able to help one person change their life.” It is an incredibly satisfying feeling for me to have been even a small part of this young woman’s dream. And I am so frickin’ proud of my daughter’s hard work and dedication to living her dream.
Of course, there is a quid pro quo for me. I have extracted a promise that when this woman becomes a famous fashion designer, I will get a front row seat to the fashion show runway and rub elbows with the rich and famous.
But first, she’ll have to make me something to wear.