Queens Village, New York, April 30, 2011 – Replacing their heels with sneakers, covering their painted nails with work gloves, and trading in their runway for an overgrown, weed infested, leaf covered church park, this charity based modeling agency came whistling and ready to work. The Shortstack models, equipped with rakes, spades, plants and trash bags, along with Board of Director members Tracy Mignone and Hal Eisenberg, chose their Earth Day Project as the restoration of the Hollis Woods Community Church Park, located on 82nd Avenue and Bell Boulevard.
Shortstack is a teen driven fashion and modeling program. Its goal is to allow young girls who do not fit the “normal” model standards to be a part of charitable fashion events. Shortstack was created by Oakland Gardens resident Olivia Mignone at the age of 15, under the guidance of the nonprofit empowerment agency Windows of Opportunity, to give these “short” girls a chance at achieving their dreams as models and empower them to love themselves for who they are. Their message is not only to change the standards in the fashion industry but to provide opportunities to give back to the community.
“What an amazing day. I am SO proud of these girls,” stated Tracy Mignone, Windows of Opportunity’s board member. “This was a major task at hand… cleaning and sprucing up a church playground for kids… and not one complaint heard. Just lots of fun and laughter,” continued Mignone.
Shortstack is no stranger to giving back and providing opportunities for the 20 models chosen each year to take part in its 8 month long program. “In an attempt to promote healthy habits, better body image and self-esteem and to create confidence, Shortstack allows young girls who have always wanted to model, but don’t meet the industry standards, a chance to accomplish their dreams,” declares the founder and Director of Shortstack Olivia Mignone. Mignone continues, “Through workshops, rehearsals, charity events, photo shoots and fashion shows, these girls become the types of models our society should look up to.”
The day was full of hard work, but at the end of it all, the church and its congregants were extremely happy. “We haven’t seen this park cleaned in many years. I am hoping this breathes some life and brings families back to our congregation,” exclaimed Reverend Sharon Wolf. The church opens its door many nights and weekends for additional programs that Windows of Opportunity incorporates, including The Inner You Eating Disorders prevention program on Wednesday nights and a drop in center on Thursday nights. As soon as funding permits, a room in the church will be converted into a music studio for a youth leadership program called Rock Ur Heart Out. “The church has provided an amazing opportunity for us to run innovative programs that get kids off the street and provide them with a safe environment,” said Hal Eisenberg, Executive Director at Windows. Windows of Opportunity currently coordinates 11 different innovative empowerment programs across the 5 boroughs of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester. They recently expanded to Toronto, Canada and have their sights on many more North American cities.
Shortstack’s™ 5th Anniversary Charity Fashion Show is set for Friday, June 17th, 2011 at The Midtown Loft & Terrace (267 Fifth Avenue 11th Floor, New York, NY 10016). Tickets are now on sale for $60 each. Proceeds will be donated to Windows of Opportunity, Inc.’s Youth Empowerment Programs, including next year’s Shortstack program. Sounds like an event not to miss!
Shortstack™ is a teen driven fashion and modeling program. Its goal is to allow young girls who do not fit the “normal” model standards to be a part of charitable fashion events. For years, girls have been rejected from the modeling industry because they are too short. Shortstack was created by high school students under the guidance of Windows of Opportunity, Inc. to give these “short” girls a chance at achieving their dreams as models and empower them to love themselves for who they are. Their motto, “Breaking the rules, setting new standards….” is the message they want the fashion industry to hear loud and clear. www.wooshortstack.org
About Windows of Opportunity, Inc – The Barbara Harmon Institute
Windows of Opportunity (WOO) is a 501©3 non-profit organization founded to create a shift in what is possible for youth in the areas of leadership, empowerment, self esteem, school performance and career planning… a shift from disempowerment, differences and indecision to possibility, acceptance and opportunity. www.eisenbergacdmy.wpengine.com
Hal Eisenberg, L.M.S.W.