By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fashion journalist, television personality, and author Cheryl Ann Wadlington began working with girls in the 1980s as a modeling and life coach. As time passed, she decided that more needed to be done to change the startling statistics surrounding teen girls in Philadelphia.READ MORE: 30 Years Later, Search For Joy Hibbs' Killer Continues With New Reward Posted For Information
“Whether it was the high STD rate, teen violence, or the high high school drop-out rate, we knew that something had to be done,” says Wadlington.
So, Wadlington founded Evoluer House in 2004 to tackle the challenge. The organization’s premiere program is a six-week personal development workshop that teaches girls ages 13 to 18 about makeup, fashion, and dining etiquette.
It also teach life and job skills that transform the girls into young women.
“We meet girls where they are,” says Wadlington. “We teach them how to get a job, how to keep a job, we teach them how to be power women.”
So far, Wadlington says, Evoluer House has graduated close to 800 girls. And when the young ladies leave the program they have the tools to turn their dreams into reality.
“They’re not just graduating from high school, they’re going into college,” says Wadlington, who notes that some graduates have even gone on to law school. “Our vision is to create a woman president of the United States — we want to push the bar.”
This year’s workshops begin July 9th and run through August. The girls will meet twice a week for six hours, at Peirce College. The curriculum includes a power lunch with women mentors, classes on conflict management, and more.READ MORE: 17 People Injured In Crash Involving SEPTA Bus After Car Runs Red Light, Officials Say
“This is one of the largest populations of teen girls of all time,” says Wadlington, “and we can’t complain if we don’t want to be a part of the solution.”
To set the example, Wadlington is reaching for extraordinary. She recently published a book, titled, DivaGirl’s Guide to Style and Self-Respect, and is working to create one of the premiere development centers for girls in the country.
“I want these girls to not just be ordinary — I want them to be extraordinary,” says Wadlington.
For more information on Evoluer House or to donate, go to www.evoluerhouse.org.
Hear the podcast…