Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s a true honor and privilege to share something very special with you today. Back in December of last year (in this blog post), I shared a little bit about the Wendy’s Lookbook Foundation and now four months later, it’s here! A true labor of love that united passionate people together who share a common goal… to empower our youth. The Wendy’s Lookbook Foundation offers an innovative opportunity for youths impacted by the juvenile justice system to showcase their self-expression through an intensive entrepreneurship and social enterprise curriculum. Participants engage in multi-week workshops that empowers and encourages them to rebuild their self-worth, wellness, and creativity while simultaneously reducing their odds of recidivism by introducing and promoting positive and productive lifestyles. Each cycle of these workshops is culminated by a presentation of original narratives intertwined with fashion designs.
At first, we envisioned a two-day workshop coupled with a few days of follow up. We ended up spending a few weeks and holidays together while working on their poems and t-shirt designs. Yanni and Frank are two incredible youths who have faced indescribable hardships while and after being in the juvenile justice system. Harden by their life experiences, yet still so tender and positive, Yanni and Frank found an outlet to express themselves through writing and poetry. Inspired by their words, we took the essence of what they wrote and turned it into an illustration.
JOURNEY by Quiyona “Yahniie” Bridges
I thought I had access to the lessons in my challenges.
That gave me the illusion of invincibility, but I was mistaken.
Right now, I’m fragile. Anything has potential to break me.
So, I need a moment to myself while I make me.
I found myself having private conversations about my darkest emotions,
Because how I’m perceived is a reality for how far I navigate this world.
I thought maybe I needed a moment…
Eyes have focused on me for consolation,
and I’ve felt obligated to respond yet my own words of advice became foreign concepts.
I thought maybe I needed a moment…
I found that my heart is clear and my mind is confused…and sometimes the opposite.
So then, I thought maybe I just needed a moment.
Maybe a break.
To escape an old paradigm to which I can no longer relate…
I’ve found that a paintbrush is more invigorating than a therapy session.
With every stroke, I delve deeper into healing.
With every acrylic layer, I build myself to my perfect.
I thought, there should be more moments like this…
I have surrounded myself with people who inspire me to live abundantly.
People who evoke emotion, make me examine things intangible.
People who seek the unity in opportunity and community.
I thought, I could spend a lifetime like this…
I’ve realized that it’s okay to question old beliefs, as long as I remember who I am in that.
I’ve realized that the source never changes, only the circumstance.
Everything is perfect as is.
I thought, this is the perfect moment because it’s mine,
Right, wrong or in between.
I’ve realized that it’s okay to be fragile.
It’s also possible to be fragile and exhibit strength at the same time.
As I weave up and down the course of infinity,
I feel it a dance, intentions on grace.
Revolving forward at times appearing the contrary,
Momentum coming from external encouragement and small successes.
I feel the definition of character each day, taking heed.
It’s all part of the journey.
And this is just an expression of what I’ve been feeling lately.
HERO by Frank Jimenez
Amazing leaders raised me,
they are profound preachers,
who became unorthodox teachers.
Leading in the way of hope and perseverance,
preaching in the way of forgiveness through experience.
Teaching quitting is never an option.
Hope fuels the power to persevere.
Forgiveness brings about new experiences.
Quitting is an excuse to forfeit what you cannot achieve.
I will have to strive farther,
as a new father,
To be a better leader, preacher, and teacher.
Using what I’ve learned
to pass on.
Filled with happiness and joy,
troubled with fears and tears,
that I will not succeed
and provide for my seed.
The Wendy’s Lookbook Foundation is built on unconditional support. 100% of the proceeds from the tees go directly to the youths. I know I’m bias, but I love both designs =) I love how classic and clean the Journey tee is, and how chic and sleek the Hero tee is. I sincerely hope you enjoy both designs, and if you have moment, please consider joining the WLB Foundation family. These limited edition designs are available until April 30th. Your support is greatly greatly appreciated.
From dream to reality… special thanks to Ted Fu, Monique Salgado, and Jimmy Wu for your tireless efforts and unwavering support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.