For Teresa Washington, “beauty always blossoms from within.” That’s the motto that she lives by. It’s also what inspired her soon-to-launch nonprofit organization, Pure Orchids.
“Growing up isn’t always the most fun or easiest experience, and building a young woman’s self-esteem can be one of the hardest part of growing up,” says Washington. “I experienced teen pregnancy and struggled with self-esteem as a teen, and I want to help young women find it easier than I did.”
Washington began her professional journey in the fashion world as the owner of Paris J. Boutique, based in Cincinnati. Today, she’s the successful fashion designer and owner of Chicago-based Style Room 326.
To help instill self-esteem in young ladies, regardless of the cards life dealt them, Washington will soon launch Pure Orchids in 2018. “Pure Orchids is a nonprofit organization inspiring young ladies ages 10-16 from all walks of life to uncover their extraordinary inner and outer beauty and embrace their differences while expressing joy, optimism, and gratitude through their words, thoughts, and actions,” says Washington.
“The goal of Pure Orchids is to offer experience-based lessons through positive mentorship with a 3-week Free Summer Day Camp program that improves self-awareness and build self-confidence while realizing that when they love themselves they will find more joy and love in their lives,” she adds.
Like many, Washington believes that girls are the future. The media has such a huge impact and influence on young women, that it isn’t difficult to see where the obstacles lie in trying to help the teens and youth of today find a way to love themselves, and that’s what Washington hopes to change.
“It’s extremely important that our girls have positive role models in their lives as well as organizations such as Pure Orchids that will inspire them while discovering their strength and self-esteem, empowering them to feel confident, whole, and capable to accomplish anything,” she says.
What makes Pure Orchids unique is its overall mission to reach young girls nationwide, according to Washington. It’s also for young ladies from all walks of life, as Washington says she believes that we can all learn something from one another regardless of our race, background, cultures, or religions.
“That’s the only way we grow, is learning to accept others’ differences,” says Washington. “We’re all flowers in a garden, we share a common root, the garden is beautiful because it has different colors in it, and those colors represent different traditions and backgrounds.”
Washington isn’t the only one hoping the change the world one young lady at a time. She has a team of dedicated, positive women who are willing to volunteer their time and services to help make a difference in the lives of each young lady. These women include: Kimberly Sullivan, Stephanie Straughn, Amelia Orr, Dwan Tarrance, and Washington herself – and they are always searching for more volunteers.
While the beginnings of Pure Orchids dates back to June 2011, the last stretch of finalizing paperwork and becoming a 501(c)3-approved non-profit means the group will officially launch in summer 2018.
Washington says that she will host several open houses for volunteer opportunities as well as for parents and teens to learn more about Pure Orchids and enrollment for summer 2018, which will accept only 30 teens.