This summer, the Motherless Daughters Foundation is set to serve up fun and fellowship with fantastic food and philanthropy during its Have a Ball at City Hall fundraiser. The event, presented by the City of Atlanta and the Motherless Daughters Foundation, Inc., is set for Friday, July 28, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Atlanta City Hall Atrium. It will feature live entertainment, a silent auction, cocktails and a taste of Atlanta’s favorite food. Twenty (20) participating restaurants, caterers and chefs will provide food samples throughout the evening. The $20 admission and funds from the auction will support the nonprofit that works to build character, promote confidence, and empower young women to embrace the transition into a life as ladies of influence. The fundraiser will serve as a pre-gala event to the organization’s annual gala, which will take place Saturday, September 16, 2017.
Some of the participants include Chef Brian Reynolds, Chef Kymmis, Nancy’s Pizza, Jason’s Deli and Subway.
Among others, special guests planning to join in the fun include Atlanta First Lady Sarah-Elizabeth Reed, Motherless Daughters brand ambassador; Xernona Clayton, CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc., and honorary mother for Motherless Daughters; WAGA-TV Weekend Anchor Deidra Dukes and FGTV Broadcast and Cable Director Shaunya Chavis Rucker and husband Clint Rucker, chief assistant district attorney for Fulton County.
The Motherless Daughters Foundation provides a mentoring program for girls ages nine to 15 living without support of a positive mother figure in their lives. Through Motherless Daughters, girls are paired with relatable mothers, and also have an opportunity to participate in summer camps plus year-round educational and enrichment experiences. Girls receive scholarships and donations of clothing and school supplies and more.
From July 10 to 14, girls took part in a summer enrichment program that included focuses on public speaking, etiquette and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Motherless Daughters president/executive director Rassalyn Willis is a community activist and owner of Xclusive Hair Studio and Spa in College Park, Ga.
VEU had a chance to briefly speak with Rassalyn and here is what she had to say below:
What inspired you to start the Motherless Daughters Foundation?
I have always seen myself as a mentor, training and guiding young ladies who would come to me through my salon. I have a real passion for helping people.
I feel helping with education, exposing young ladies to different career paths and just better opportunities outside of mentoring and counseling all make a big difference and create a greater sense of confidence. The girls know that they have a network to help them — with programs geared towards prevention of teenage pregnancy, school dropout rates and drug/alcohol addictions.
I remember how others outside my birth mother helped me with certain aspects of life as a young lady. I named the organization Motherless Daughters for girls without their birth mothers, but for it to represent the missing motherly attributes as well. I think we all can step in to help make a difference and help fill voids in an individual’s life.
Share one of your favorite parts about working with the young girls.
I love working with the girls, especially when we have our relax-and-relate time. It gives me great insight as conversations are open and candid of how the program really applies to their day-to-day life situations. I’m able to see how some of our peer leaders have gained confidence and are able to influence some of the other girls as a positive influence. I love when I see the growth within the girls and young ladies.
What advice or support do you offer for girls that have surpassed the age requirement for the foundation?
We would love them to come in as volunteers and mentors. We are in the process of creating a Big Sister program. This will be geared for our graduates of the program and also interested individuals 19 and up. They may reach out to our new member committee for application requirements.
What are some of the most important lessons you want to teach young girls about becoming women?
I would like them to know that they are beautiful and smart and nothing can stop them from achieving their goals and even dreams with God.
Building confidence is the first lesson. Teaching them to connect with positive networks and also keeping a positive mindset is very important.
I love to teach them how to become an influential leader — to stand up for themselves and always hold their heads up and shoulders back. I express that they are the future Influential Ladies.
We pair our ladies early on in the program with great examples of leading ladies — such as CEO of the Trumpet Foundation, Inc. Ms. Xernona Clayton, Atlanta First Lady Sarah-Elizabeth Reed and Myrna White of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It’s important to have great examples who show love and support.
Being a beauty industry business owner for nearly 20 years, I’ve also shared business skills during summer internships as a mentor. I also focus on beauty and personal care regimens with each of them.
My hopes are for them to gain in every aspect of life within our growing network of the foundation.
To purchase tickets to Have a Ball at City Hall, please go to: