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Little Black Dress Initiative to help local homeless youth

Posted at 9:36 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 15:42:54-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Little Black Dress initiative began Monday for the second year in a row to help raise awareness and funds to the homeless youth in the community.

The Junior League of Tucson is partnering with Youth on their Own, an organization to help homeless youth graduate, to help spread awareness of the homeless youth in the community.

"There are more homeless youth responding to our program then ever before," Director of Development at Youth on their Own Bethany Neumann said. "We're already at 13 % higher than we were this time last year, and the year before we were at 8% higher, so we're seen a 20% growth in two years."

As part of the initiative, the members of the Junior Leagues of Tucson will each be wearing the same all black outfits all week, so they can experience what it's like to be a kid in poverty. Each outfit will have a pin that says, "Ask me about my black dress."

"Oh it's all about the pin, because you're wearing this black outfit or black dress and then you have this red pin and they're like what does that say?'," Jamie Baker, the chair of advocacy with the Junior League of Tucson said.

Baker said the group hopes that by wearing the black dresses they can invite an open dialogue in the community about organizations they're partnered with like Youth on their Own.

"It's so important to get community support for what we do, not just for the resources that your support provides, but also just so the youth know that someone is behind them, someone cares about them, and somebody is there for them, even though they don't have parents to care for them anymore," Neumann said.

Last year, they were able to raise 3,500 dollars, but the goal this year is to raise 5,000 dollars.

"It was such a successful event last year that we really wanted to just take an opportunity to revisit this," Baker said. "We as members of the league enjoy advocating and making others aware of what is happening in our community, what other nonprofits are doing, how we're helping them, how we're supporting one another."

The money will go to creating hygiene and snack kits for the students at Youth on their Own.

"We don't experience what they're experiencing unless we go through those same actions and motions," Baker said.