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“Starting In Style” Empowers Middle School Girls In Community

(media release provided by Carrollton City Schools)

CARROLLTON, GA – Motivated to make a difference in students’ lives, Abbey Smith, an elementary school teacher, launched “Starting in Style.” This initiative provides new clothing for students in need, helping them start the school year with confidence and dignity.

Smith’s inspiration for “Starting in Style” originated from her experience witnessing the impact of poverty on students’ lives. She recalls a particular instance that sparked the idea.

 “My school’s counselor and I knew of two sisters who desperately needed clothes for the upcoming school year,” said Smith. “We took them to Newnan, made a whole day out of it, and helped them pick out outfits that matched and were school-appropriate. These girls had never been to a clothing store or had the opportunity to pick out entirely new outfits. The confidence it gave them was undeniable!”

Inspired by this experience, Smith envisioned a broader program to benefit more students. “I knew there were and are so many girls in our community who could benefit from something like this on a larger scale,” Smith shared.

Thus, “Starting in Style” was born.

Since its inception in 2021, “Starting in Style” has grown significantly.

In its first year, the program took 30 middle school girls in the community on a shopping trip. The following year, the program doubled in size, helping 65 girls. Last year, the program expanded and supported 135 middle school girls. This year, the program hopes to assist 150 students.

In total, “Starting in Style” has taken 230 girls back-to-school shopping, providing them with new clothes and, more importantly, a boost in confidence.

The day kicks off with breakfast, before their shopping trip. The girls also enjoy a coffee or tea together, a fan favorite according to Smith. The day ends with a fashion show where the girls proudly model their new outfits for all the volunteers, celebrating their newfound confidence and style. The girls also receive a goody bag of toiletries and other items.

“Starting in Style is so much more than just shopping,” Smith said. “It’s about showing these girls that no matter their circumstances, they are worthy and loved. It’s about giving them the confidence to hold their heads high and understand that they have the power to break the cycle of poverty if they so choose.”

Smith said she is thankful for those who volunteer each year.

“It really is a team effort,” she said. “I am especially thankful for my co-leader, Ashley Bishop. This event wouldn’t be possible without her and all the other volunteers.”

To volunteer to help with this year’s “Starting in Style” back-to-school shopping event or to donate, visit https://bio.link/startinginstyle.

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