One Black Dress, Five Short Days…

If you feel led to support the JLSP, you can donate to our campaign here

Hello hello friends! I could be more excited to share today’s post with you because it’s deeply personal AND y’all are going to get to meet some amazing ladies!

From September 25-29 I joined 76 inspiring women in the Junior League of St Petersburg to answer a seemingly simple question, “Can wearing one black dress, for five short days, help make a difference in the lives of other?” While you may be wondering how in the world it can- I can attest to the life-changing effects of the week (and the Little Black Dress Initiative)!

The premise of the week was fairly simple: each participant wears the same black dress for 5 days with a button that reads, “Ask me about my dress.” Through wearing the same dress the participants begin to understand what it is like to live in poverty & the toll that it takes on your self-esteem as well as the frustrations from having no options due to lack of resources. In turn, the button encourages friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers to ask about what you are doing and gives you a platform to not only talk about the issues happening in Pinellas County/St Petersburg, but also allows us to share how the Junior League is helping to combat each of the issues and is working for the good of our community. It was a powerful week y’all!

Rather than only share from my perspective, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some of the phenomenal women of the Junior League and what they learned and shared throughout our five days of the Little Black Dress Initiative!

Kristin Mohr

#TheLBDI has taught me this week that little actions add up to big successes. 

On Sunday I created my donation page, honestly not expecting to raise that much money. However I joined Junior League of St. Petersburg to be an active member and I figured creating my donation page was the least I could do. Fast forward to today and I have raised over $500. I want to thank everyone who has donated (and continues to donate:

Your generosity has inspired me to get even more involved in The League and to make a difference in the health, nutrition and literacy of our community’s children.

I’m believing in the Lord to bless everyone who has donated to the cause and spread the funds farther than we can imagine!

Theresa Messina

As day 5 of the #TheLBDI is completed, I reflect back on this week, I am honored to stand, in the same black dress, next to 75 dedicated women who accepted this challenge too. I believe that we were able to create awareness for the lack of resources in our community. I know we will continue to make a difference. Thank you to all who have donated! As Gandhi says “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I hope we inspired you!

Erin Lohmiller

LBDI Day 3 – Every morning I wake up bright and early to my 3 year old piling a stack of her favorite books on our bed as she begs us to read to her. And each night she is blessed with the ability to choose a bedtime story from her many books that sit on her shelf. 

Not all children are lucky enough to share that same enthusiasm for reading because they haven’t been exposed to the creativity and imagination that children’s books provide. Did you know, for middle income families, there are 20 books for every 1 child BUT for families living with limited resources, there is 1 book for every 20 children. 

If giving $10 would help to combat this for some children in St. Pete, would you consider giving? Your $10 assists JLSP with its Pinellas County Library Program called “Library Puppets” and will enable one class to receive a hard copy of the puppet show storybook – this year we are launching The Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet show and we can’t wait to share this colorful story with children from several of St. Petersburg’s Title 1 elementary schools.

Melissa Zepeda

Wearing the at work certainly aroused questions about my dress. It was much easier to start a positive conversation about issues of poverty. The one stat that I had memorized was – 31.6% of children below the age of 6 live below the poverty line in St. Petersburg (per US gov census). That’s a lot of kids. And everyone I spoke to was very surprised it was that high. I explained to people about how the JLSP serves the community year round trying to help those children have access to food and books.

Rebecca Smith

My kids asked me this morning, “Why are you wearing the same thing mommy? You may be wondering the same thing. It’s to bring awareness to a very real problem here in St. Pete. A city I love, a city you might vacation to. Generational poverty is something we can all help strive to eradicate. 

Having a VPK and 1st grader these statistics are astounding. Nearly 1/3 of kindergarteners living in “At-risk” zones of Pinellas County were not prepared for Kindergarten. In fact, there are 41 elementary schools in Pinellas County that are Title I, meaning they receive federal funding to local school districts to improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students. The Junior League of St. Petersburg dedicates hundreds of volunteer hours and raises funds to host its annual Care Fair, which supplies children with backpacks and supplies to prepare for school, and assists parents with the registration process. Being well prepared and timely registered for school makes a dramatic impact on a child’s “School Success”. To see these efforts continue, please consider donating! 

It only takes a minute! I challenge you to skip that morning coffee, bring your lunch to the office. Anything you can offer will directly help these children, our future generation.

Well I sure hope you are as inspired as I am! It truly was an amazing week for not only the members that participated in the campaign- but for our community! To date we have raised over $20,000 (!!!) but our work is only beginning- there is so much to do! All funds raised from the campaign are poured back into the community through the projects and programs of the Junior League. If you have any questions- please let me know! 

Thank you for reading and can’t wait to see y’all tomorrow!



  1. October 10, 2017 / 11:19 am

    What an inspiring project that you took part in! What a great way to bring awareness to such a worthy cause.

    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

  2. October 10, 2017 / 11:52 am

    I love that you all brought attention to something that people didn't know much about. It's scary to see how much poverty people are living in. Thank you so much for sharing this and bringing light to this issue!

  3. October 11, 2017 / 5:42 am

    I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information,
    I got good ideas from this amazing blog. Baby Girl Dresses

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