On September 11, 2018 we hosted a group of girls just as we have dozens of times before, but one sweet girl in particular stood out. Maybe it was her big brown eyes, or the shy smile that told us she wasn’t quite sure why she was there, but she was open to knowing us and letting us love her and we were grateful. Her name was “C” and we had the sweetest time getting to know her and hearing her story. In the midst of helping her piece together outfits that reflected her individuality, but wouldn’t compromise opportunity, we were thankful for how quickly fashion opened the door to conversation. Sweet “C” talked and talked about the upcoming homecoming of a family member and how she wanted to find just the right dress for the occasion. As she tried on dress after dress, we couldn’t help but notice her bra was being held together by rubberbands. It stirred our hearts and we became burdened knowing that while we had lots of beautiful clothing items to bless her with, we have never made undergarments a part of our sessions. No one should have to wear thrifted underwear (and being a non-profit, we weren't sure how we could provide hundreds of bras, panties, and camisoles to every girl in our program). This sweet girl represented the many girls we serve who do not have proper fitting undergarments, and some have come in with none at all.
A little over a week later, we welcomed another group of girls for a Wearing Confidence Boutique Session and were surprised that “C” was there for a second time! This very rarely happens but because she happened to be enrolled in multiple programs that partner with us, we were getting to see her again! She was excited to be back and we were excited to see her! Building relationships is vital to what we do! As we helped “C” and her group find clothes, we noticed that she was wearing the same bra…with the same rubberbands. The burden to help our girls feel confident from undergarments to outer garments was growing…but how could we do it? We talked as a team and prayed about putting together a campaign to raise the funds needed to purchase bras and other undergarments for the girls we serve.
Around this time we began working with the Joy FM as Top Buttons and our Founder, Sarah Powers, were chosen to be featured as a Joy Story. We were excited that millions of people would have the opportunity to become aware of the needs in our community and hear practical ways they could help. We also knew that should we be asked if there was a specific “call to action”, it would be to help provide our sweet girls with new bras and underwear. Sure enough, the amazing Bill and Carmen (of the Morning Cruise) came to Top Buttons and after seeing what the Lord enables us to do, asked how they could help. We were all too excited to tell them about our need for brand new undergarments and Carmen immediately connected with our hearts on this mission. She came up with a clever campaign named “Carmen Needs Drawers” and we loved it!!!
Knowing the heart of her listeners, Carmen felt confident that meeting a goal to provide undergarments for every girl in our program could be accomplished….and she was right! By the time “The Morning Cruise with Dave, Bill and Carmen” wrapped up that day, the generous listeners of the JOY FM had done it!!! Girls in our programs would now not only leave feeling confident in the clothing people could see, but also in what people couldn’t see! Carmen got her drawers and our girls were getting them too!
In addition to the Joy FM’s campaign and the generous support of a local foundation, all remaining costs for additional undergarment needs within our Wearing Confidence Program in 2019 have been covered. More than 300 young women will have proper fitting bras, underwear, camisoles and other key clothing pieces by year end! As we continue to enroll more programs (which means serving more girls!) and add to our inventory of what we are able to provide to them, the need for additional space and proper storage has become a necessity. We are truly grateful for all who have supported our mission and who help us love on girls in our community.
Please know that I type all this with complete joy…but also with tears in my eyes. Why? Because at the beginning of February, we held our very first Wearing Confidence Session where we were to provide each girl with a set of undergarments. From meeting our sweet friend “C” and recognizing the extent of this need…to the timing of the JOY FM Joy Story and their listeners and our community being crazy generous, God met the need He had put in the heart of our team. And guess who “just happened” to be back in attendance for this particular Wearing Confidence Program session? The very FIRST session where we are offering complete sets of undergarments... you guessed it...our sweet friend “C”.
We are so grateful for what God has done and we are excited and expectant for what He will continue to do. After spending numerous weeks pricing and researching the best options for bras to purchase for our girls, we have chosen to partner with Soma Intimates. We are able to obtain excellent quality at discounted rates while buying in bulk! This company doesn’t hyper-sexualize through their marketing. Also, we need better sizing options than many companies provide and Soma specializes in larger size bras. Additionally, they have a sizing sports bra called SOMAINNOFIT™. It’s a sizing bra you can put on over your shirt or bra and it immediately sends the sizing info to an app which tells the correct size bra for you! It eliminates the guessing game and helps our girls feel comfortable with the process. Soma cares about the local community! We hope to soon be able to share some exciting news regarding our partnership with Soma which will greatly benefit the girls in our program long term…so stay tuned!