a fun, free resource for DC area families

Friday May 9: Runway Moms for the Cause – Support Needed

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Date Night ~ Girls Night Out ~ Great Cause!

An event close to my heart which I passionately recommend to families is happening this spring, Runway Moms for the Cause. Runway Moms for a Cause (RMFC) is a fashion show and gala which raises funds for non-profit organizations.  

The beneficiary of the Friday May 9, 2014 show is Kidsave International, which finds loving homes for forgotten older children worldwide living in orphanages and in need of parents.Kidsave International. Kidsave has helped over 12 governments and 3,000 children. Yet countless children live in orphanages and foster care. Kidsave’s goal is  to give every child has a permanent family. 

Businesses are essential to a successful Runway Moms for the Cause event! Businesses can donate goods/services to auction or raffle, purchase sponsorship package, ad space and purchase tickets to the event. 

Lara Akinsanya is the founder of RMFC and the face behind internationally acclaimed ready-to-wear clothing brand L~Shandi Designs. Her designs are STUNNING, detailed and highlight a woman’s body like nothing I have ever worn. Since Lara’s grand entrance to the global fashion scene, she has been heralded by the media and is an active member of the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce. She has participated on panel discussions related to economic development through fashion programs in the greater Washington DC area. And she is a mother of twin preschoolers!

At Runway Moms for the Cause, items for the auction and giveaways will be especially for moms, kids, and families and there will be special performances for guests to enjoy. The event is also unique in the sense that most of us involved are all volunteers (the goal is to have everything at the event done by volunteers) rallied together for one purpose: to raise funds for Kidsave International.

I am a media partner of Runway Moms for the Cause, happily donating my time to help promote this event. I attended Runway Moms for the Cause in 2011 and my husband Chris and I had one of our best nights out ever. I love that the ticket price is accessible for such a luxurious gala, and that all proceeds go to helping children in need. I am also walking as a “mom model” with some phenomenal women in the community.

VIP and general admission tickets are discounted until April 27. I heartily recommend the VIP ticket because this ticket includes hors d’oeuvres and drinks (open bar till 8pm), 3 raffle tickets, a gift bag and an autographed copy of Style Bible: What to Wear to Work by celebrity host Lauren Rothman of Styleauteur. 

I also urge businesses to sponsor this event. Sponsorship packages are very reasonable and media partners include small fry like me and big fish like Washingtonian Mom.

Runway Moms for the Cause is the greatest charity event I have attended, hands down. Please attend or if you own a local business, please support the event by promoting your business! 

 

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Ringling Brothers Circus at Patriot Center This Weekend

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is back in town and my family and I thoroughly enjoyed the new show, Built to Amaze! This new production by the Greatest Show on Earth is being shown every day this weekend, Friday-Sunday. This construction-themed show has elephants, tamed tigers. trained poodles, miniature ponies and horses, amazing acrobats, a woman shot out of a cannon, tight rope walkers, and hilarious clowns. The show is packed with nearly three hours of amazements.

All circus tickets include the All-Access Preshow beginning an hour before show time — FREE to all ticket holders. The Preshow allows audience members to meet and take photos with performers, try on circus costumes, learn circus skills and have the chance to win a masterpiece painting by one of the Ringling Bros. artistic Asian elephants. Families can experience the circus right from the three rings! It is worth the ticket price.

Ringling Brothers at The Patriot CenterThrough April 20, 2014

Remaining Show times:
·       Friday, April 18 – 1:00 pm; 7:30 pm
·       Saturday, April 19 – 11:30 am, 3:30 pm; 7:30 pm
·       Sunday, April 20 – 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm

Ticket Prices: $15.00/$20.00/$30.00 (Circus Celebrity, Front Row and VIP available)

Ticket Information: All seats are reserved. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, via www.ticketmaster.com and the Patriot Center box office.

Disclosure: My family received 4 review tickets and a tour of the elephant “dormitory” before the show. No additional compensation was received. 

Summer 365: Summer Camp Experts

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This summer my husband and I are considering sending our 10 year old son Charlie to his first overnight summer camp experience. I know I am more nervous at the prospect than is Charlie! Thankfully, the camp experts — “counselors” — at Summer 365 are available to walk my family and me through this process!

Summer 365 is a summer camp placement service that makes the entire camp research, selection, registration and preparation process as painless and enjoyable as possible…at no additional charge to families! Their job is to make our job as parents easier. I was honored to interview Summer 365 founder and chief Summer 365 counselor Susan Kasnett and her daughter and fellow camp expert Lauren Kasnett about the nerve-wracking process of summer camp selection.

how-roundA Parent in Silver Spring: What exactly does Summer 365 do to help a family place their child in an overnight summer camp? 

Susan Kasnett, Summer 365: We provide a dynamic service to our families. We can consult with parents and families via Skype, on the phone, in person, online. We are coaches and we are matchmakers to find the best camp for the child. It can be an overwhelming process to find the right camp, so we help make it easy and fun.

Mothers are always asking their friends for recommendations when it comes to kids’ activities. But with camps, what is good for one child may not be good for another. What we can do is customize the search. We evaluate what is available and what makes each camp special and unique. We schedule camp tours for parents, and we ourselves are constantly touring, personally visiting camps. We travel each and every summer so we can have hands-on experience of the camps, and we meet with camp directors throughout the year.

We are on hand so parents can differentiate from the multitude of camps. We are always looking to learn more about the camps available, and we have relationships with hundreds of camps – single sex, co-ed, you name it. This season we signed on 15 new camps and we are proud of the diversity of all the programs available.

We are here so parents don’t have to go it alone.

I cannot believe it is already April! Is it too late find a summer camp for our children for this summer 2014? 

Susan Kasnett: It is definitely not too late for summer 2014! Some do fill up, sure. But the value of our service is that in only a couple of minutes, if parents call us, we can find a great place for their child. We know which camps are full and which have space.

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Connect with Summer 365!

Summer 365 FacebookSummer 365 on Twitter

Summer 365 on Instagram ~ Summer 365 on Pinterest

Summer 365 e-mail

 

I know about day camps in the DC area, but I am completely clueless when it comes to summer camps. I usually sign my children up for specialty day camps in the summer — a week of chess day camp, a week of dance day camp. Do traditional summer sleep-away camps have similar activity focuses? 

Susan Kasnett: For children age 8, 9, 10 — younger children in camp age —  a more traditional camp is the best fit. Specialty camps that focus on just one area of practice or focus are usually for older kids.

Lauren Kasnett: Camps today have incredibly diverse and exciting offerings! We are seeing entrepreneurship workshops, camps focusing on health and wellness activities such as yoga, teaching farm to table food with gardening and cooking, science and technology, video game design, new exercise practices such as Zumba! Whatever your child is individually interested in, we can help you find a camp that offers it and offers even more activities that you can imagine.

Susan Kasnett: Camps have trapeze classes! Recording studios, photography, so many specialized activities. After a busy, sometimes stressful school year full of SAT preparation, studying for bar mitzvahs and lots of homework, being able to follow exciting and fun pursuits can be  a dream for kids. Of course, if your child requires special tutoring during the summer, many camps offer that should you need.

Is 10 years old too young for summer camp?

Susan Kasnett: Absolutely not. Many kids begin at age 8 or even younger. Keep in mind that the camp experience ends by age 15, and we firmly believe that camp is an important part of a child’s education and development. If you know you are interested in “someday” having your children experience camp, do not start too young! By starting at 8 or as close to that as possible, you are setting your child up for the greatest success to integrate into the camp experience and find space at the best camp for him or her.

It is a well kept secret that camps are incredible for a child’s growth and development. Camping builds self esteem, self confidence, strength and creates incredible leaders.

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I have to confess, we have not done a lot of sleepovers with our 10 year old. For his first camp experience, should he only stay for a weekend? Or a week? How does it work for a first-time camper? 

Susan Kasnett: We recommend a two week minimum camp stay. We believe it takes a child 10 days to acclimate and learn the camp flow. We recommend at least two weeks for kids to get the full experience.

You can start having your child sleep out as practice for camp right now, but you will be very surprised at how ready your child already is for the camp experience. Lauren here was always calling me from sleepovers at friends’ homes, but she went off to camp at 7 and a half years old and she was a wonderful camper!

Won’t kids get homesick?

Susan Kasnett: It is shown that 97 percent of children do experience a small amount of homesickness. But you can prepare your child for that feeling by talking about it beforehand. As a parent, it is important to show confidence in your child’s ability to go to camp and do well on his own. Do not project fear of homesickness, project confidence.

Camps and their counselors are so well prepared for campers to be homesick. They have hours and hours of training to serve as true counselors for the children. And you will not believe how quickly that feeling will pass once your child becomes a part of the camp groove, and you will not believe how self-reliant and mature your children will come home after camp!

Lauren Kasnett: Many camps have rookie days and parent/child weekends where campers can see the camps in person. It is not a prerequisite to attending that camp, but these sneak peeks are great ways to see a camp’s energy and spirit. These experiences allow children to take the tour, check out the camp, practice sleeping out, and get involved in the entire summer camp process.

So there is absolutely no charge to use Summer 365? 

Susan Kasnett: We provide a completely free serve to families! We receive a commission from the camps, not the parents, and working with us will not affect your tuition. We recommend parents contact us at the beginning of their camp search. Our dedicated team works year-round to provide you with all the information you need. We travel each and every summer to see the camps in person and to inspect the facilities, assess the programs, and meet with the directors.

Lauren Kasnett: We are also proud to have founded GIVE SUM because we believe that every child deserves the gift of summer camp.  GIVE SUM is a special scholarship fund for families and inner city children who would otherwise not be able to afford to send their children to camp. For every child that we help place in one of our recommended camps or programs, in turn we will donate a portion of each commission we receive to GIVE SUM. And we Summer 365 Counselors donate our time to make sure as many kids as possible get to experience the magic of summer.

I am blown away! Thank you so much for this interview. What made you decide to found Summer 365 and its online placement service for families? 

Susan Kasnett: I have been in the business of placing kids in camps for years, but Summer 365 takes us in a different direction.

Lauren Kasnett: I watched from afar what my mother has done so it is in my DNA! The stars aligned for me to join this family business, and it is incredible to create a business that serves and speaks to so many moms and new families. Providing an online resource makes us multi-dimensional and more relevant to working with young moms.

To find the perfect summer camp for your child (yes, for THIS summer!), contact Summer 365 today. 

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This interview was sponsored by Summer 365.

GIVEAWAY: Mother of All Baby Shower VIP Tickets for You and a Friend (and Exclusive Coupon Code)

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Moms’ night out! Free spa treatments! Treats! Exciting expos! Big prizes!

The DC Mother of All Baby Showers is an adults-only parents’ event taking place at Great Beginnings’ new Northern Virginia location in Chantilly, Virginia on April 25th from 5-9pm. 

The event features over 50 amazing products and services for expectant and new parents, free spa treatments and tasty treats from local businesses, top notch educational sessions, and the fabulous Heidi Murkoff, author of the What to Expect series and producer of the movie. There is something for every parent of a newborn to toddler or parent-to-be.

The Mother of All Baby Showers also offers guests $20K in giveaways! From strollers to car seats to baby feeding items to spa services and much more.

Mother of All VIP Passes to the event get you one hour earlier access to event, a Britax Baby Carrier, a one month MyGym membership and a deluxe swag bag.

VIP get you one hour earlier access to event, a one month MyGym membership and swag bag. VIP couple passes get you the same goodies for two people (share all goodies.) Exclusive promo code: use promo code MOABS to save $5 on VIP.

Standard tickets to the event? Totally free!

Get all tickets here

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To win TWO FREE VIP tickets (one for you, one for a friend of your choice) to DC’s The Mother of All Baby Showers on Friday April 25, enter the Rafflecopter form below!

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Summer Offerings: Find a Sitter and Cool Camps

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I know it is tough to think about summer with yards still covered in snow, but our schedules (and sanity!) this summer depend on finding great care and camps for our kids. Here are four fabulous summer resources I recommend.

My favorite local entrepreneur Andrew Ross has launched an awesome concept: a job board targeted to helping high school kids find jobs (and us parents locate great teens for assistance.) Jobs can be paid or volunteer, anything from babysitting to lifeguarding to interning.  The goal of FORCE is it to be the go-to place for high school students who want work to meet employers who want to hire them. Cool features of the site include
  • free listings to help you find that summer sitter, lawn mower, or administrative intern
  • online video chat so employers and students can screen each other before investing the time for an in-person meeting
  • student privacy – students will not put their personal information (name, phone, address) anywhere on the site, so they can wait until a private conversation before releasing their info to a “screened” employer
  • social media integration – anyone who uses the hashtag #myfirstjob will have their picture on the FORCE homepage

Follow @worktheforce on Twitter and Facebook 

Childcare in Silver Spring/Burtonsville/Olney
Wee Friends Daycare, Alice’s favorite place to hang and my go-to when I need a daycare provider, has room! Full-time and part time options are available for infants-school age kids. In the summer they take field trips and play in the beautiful backyard and school room. Check out my exhaustive post on this fabulous local, loving day care, and contact owner and educator Kathy Peter at kmcpeter1@hotmail.com for complete information.
Wee Friends Daycare Tuition and Hours of Operation
Wee Friends Daycare Facebook Page

Make/Believe Summer Art Camps
Make/Believe will be running three summer camps this summer in Chevy Chase and Bethesda for ages 6-12. These summer art labs are full of expansive projects such as the making of 3D glasses, forts, animation, and more. Kids will be introduced to a number of contemporary artists and concepts, and work both independently and collaboratively on a variety of projects that include drawing, painting, sculpting, fabricating, writing, and even video production.
June 23 – June 27 at Bradley Hills Elementary; 9am – 12pm
June 23 – June 27 at Chevy Chase Elementary; 1:15pm – 4:15pm
July 14 – July 18 at Bradley  Hills Elementary; 1:15pm – 4:15pm

Victory Basketball: Summer Basketball Camp at Sand Spring Friends School 
Victory Basketball Camp is hosted by SSFS Varsity Head Coach Carl Parker.  They are offering programs for boys and girls going into 3rd – 6th grade and 7th – 10th grade. Dates: June 30- July 3August 4-8August 11-15August 17-22.  Through quality training, classroom instruction, and competitive play, spend your summer developing the skills to be the best. For more information contact Coach Carl Parker at Carl.Parker@SSFS.org or 301.906.9066

What is your favorite summer activity or child care resource? Leave in the comments! 

GIVEAWAY: Ringling Bros. Circus Tickets

One family will WIN 4 tickets to the opening night show at the Verizon Center!

All families can get tickets 50 percent off on opening night!

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming back to town! Built to Amaze, a circus engineered by the Greatest Show on Earth, will be in the DC area for five weeks.

Built to Amaze performs at two arenas in the Washington, D.C. area – the Verizon Center in the District from March 20 – 23and the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. from April 9 – 20. Built to Amaze will also perform at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Md. from March 26 – April 6.

All circus tickets include the All-Access Preshow beginning an hour before show time — FREE to all ticket holders. The Preshow allows audience members to meet and take photos with performers, try on circus costumes, learn circus skills and have the chance to win a masterpiece painting by one of the Ringling Bros. artistic Asian elephants.

WASHINGTON, DC SHOW - The Verizon Center | March 20 – 23, 2014

Show times:
·       Thursday, March 20 – 7:30 pm
·       Friday, March 21 – 10:30 am, 7:30 pm
·       Saturday, March 22 – 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
·       Sunday, March 23 – 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm

FAIRFAX, VA SHOW - The Patriot Center | April 9 – April 20, 2014

Show times:
·       Wednesday, April 9 – 7:00 pm
·       Thursday, April 10 – 7:00 pm
·       Friday, April 11 – 10:30 am, 7:30 pm
·       Saturday, April 12 – 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, 7:30 pm
·       Sunday, April 13 – 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm
·       Thursday, April 17 – 7:00 pm
·       Friday, April 18 – 1:00 pm; 7:30 pm
·       Saturday, April 19 – 11:30 am, 3:30 pm; 7:30 pm
·       Sunday, April 20 – 1:00 pm, 5:00 pm

Ticket Prices: $15.00/$20.00/$30.00 (Circus Celebrity, Front Row and VIP available)

Ticket Information: All seats are reserved. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, via www.ticketmaster.com and the Verizon Center and Patriot Center box offices.

To enter to win 4 tickets to the opening night show, enter the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given review tickets for my family to see the show. No other compensation received. 

My Pepco Quick Home Energy Check-Up by greeNEWit

 Disclosure: This post is sponsored by greeNEWit. All opinions and experiences are my own.

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Did you know that each month on our Maryland utility bills, we pay into a service that most of us never utilize?

And that once we do use it, we receive loads of home upgrade products as well as save hundreds annually on our energy bills?

I had no clue!

I received 17 home improvement products I would normally have paid more than $200 for at Home Depot, and I will now save $259 on my annual Pepco bill!

You HAVE to do this, too.

This service is the Maryland Quick Home Energy Check-Up (QHEC), provided by greeNEWit. Check out your monthly Pepco or other utility provider bill and on the back you will see that small line item of a couple dollars or so each month listed as the Empower MD charge.  As part of the Empower Maryland Energy Efficiency Act, the QHEC provides us Maryland families with the opportunity to have energy-efficient products installed at no additional cost to what you already pay on your normal utility bills. It applies to both homeowners and renters.

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Once I learned about this, I was eager to redeem my savings and it was super easy. I went online to schedule my appointment. Using the accessible online calendar, I clicked an available appointment time that worked for my family and work schedule. You can also set up an appointment by phone at 866.994.7639.

 

At my assigned time, a kind young man named Seth Fawcett rang the bell and within just 30 minutes of entering my home (with very little needed of me) he assessed my home’s energy use. Once he had performed the visual energy assessment, we quickly sat down and Seth went over the energy-saving improvements he recommended, and I got to choose from a variety of energy-saving products he could install in my home at no charge.

Changes Seth and I agreed upon and he immediately implemented for me:

  • In the highest traffic areas of my home that did not already have compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), Seth replaced the 12 bulbs. This included fancy recessed lighting in hard-to-find sizes and unwieldy locations like the cathedral ceiling in my living room that is a BEAR to change out bulbs.

  • He turned the water heater that services my children’s bathroom from 130 degrees to 120 degrees. This will save on our energy bill as well as improve safety for our children’s baths.

  • He replaced showerheads in two bathrooms with efficient-flow showerheads. I opted to do this in the two guest bathrooms since I prefer my custom showerhead in the master bath.

  • He installed three special faucet aerators in our children’s and master bath sinks. Although they reduce water usage, the flow seems even better to us as we wash our faces and brush our teeth.

The environmentalist in me loves that these simple measures will result in an estimated total energy savings of 634 kWh of electricity, 24,090 gallons of water and 38 therms of gas per year. These changes will prevent nearly 1/2 tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

The saver in me loves that this fast home appointment will also save me an estimated $259 on my annual Pepco bill!

The annual savings breakdown:

  • Electricity 634 kWh = $92.52

  • Water 24,090 gal = $120.45

  • Gas 38 therms = $45.60

Other services you can choose during the Quick Home Energy Check-Up by greeNEWit, tailored to your home’s energy needs:

  • Gifting/installation of smart strips, energy-efficient power strips (I already had these.)

  • Water pipe insulation and/or water heater tank wrap

And if you are jazzed about learning ways we can be more energy-efficient at home and save on our energy bills, there are additional services provided by greeNEWit. The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Audit is the next step I will be taking in learning how to improve my home’s comfort, energy efficiency and lower my utility bill. A specially-trained energy auditor will perform a visual and diagnostic energy assessment and then provide recommendations on ways to reduce consumption and save you money. You can also explore the addition of solar panels to your home.

But the first and easiest step? Signing up for your already-paid-for Quick Home Energy Check-Up today! Mention that you heard about it on A Parent in Silver Spring and leave a comment on this post to let me know about your experience.

Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center Classes for Families

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I am enormously proud to be working with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) as a blogger consultant to this incredible non-profit that serves local families, children and museums throughout the country. The best perk of my helping out a bit is the chance to check out their offerings for families with my own children! This past weekend, my almost-three-year-old Alice and I had the chance to experience a sample SEEC class.

My kids and I are veterans of the kids’ class circuits. Music Together, Gymboree, Tiny Toes, Little Gym, My Gym, recreation center and county classes…over the last 10 years we have done them all. So I feel like an expert when I state that the SEEC classes are phenomenal, combining age-appropriate arts learning with the fabulous resources and exhibits of the Smithsonian Institution.

At a recent class for children and their parents/caregivers, we focused on the puppet display case in the lobby of the American History Museum. Alice and I, and other parents and kids, learned about the art and history of puppetry. The class blended different styles of learning and stimulating experiences for my child and myself, making for an enjoyable, memorable museum trip.

Here is how our 90 minute SEEC class experience went down:

1. We started in the SEEC preschool classroom having some free play with puppet toys with the other children attending class. (Classes are small in class size, making for a relaxing experience for the children and accompanying parents/caregivers.)

2. Next we joined the teacher for circle time, talking about puppets we were going to see when we visited the museum.

3. We “made a train” and held hands as we walked through the staff halls of the Smithsonian (just like the second Night at the Museum movie!)  and once in the museum, SEEC educators led us in an age-appropriate, exciting study of the display cases. Kids pointed out things they saw, educators gently suggested new things to take in and parents learned how to truly “use” a museum with their young ones.

4. Then we dropped down and made a wide “museum circle”, right in front of the exhibit! We watched a puppet movie on a tablet and then sang a song together.

5. We returned to the classroom and the children created their own puppet artwork using materials that related directly to our lesson. We even shared a themed snack!

Alice and I thought this class was the bee’s knees. I heartily recommend these classes to local parents. Your kids are not too young! As SEEC’s Executive Director, Dr. Kimberlee Kiehle says,

“People think children are too young for museums, that they should not bring kids to the museum until they are eight or nine or ten. But at the last SEEC infant workshop, we had a four month old and he was fascinated by the looking at the paintings! Children are never too young to learn at the museum.”

Not only did Alice benefit from the class, I have gained so much knowledge as a parent in how all three of children, at their various ages, can learn and grow through our museum visits.

Register for the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC)’s spring classes for families! Please note that you can join a class that has already begun and your fee will be pro-rated. 

Tiny Gardeners
Wednesdays, March 5-26
10-11:30 am
6 – 18 months
Registration and Info

Where Does It Come From?
Saturdays, March 1-22 10-11:30 am
19 months – 3 years
Registration and Info

What Does It Mean?
Saturdays, April 26—May 17 10—12pm
3.5—6 years
Registration ? seecmean.eventbrite.com
From portrait to landscape, children discover art through it’s many forms and meanings.

Runway Moms for the Cause May 8 – Interview with Founder and Designer Lara Akinsaya

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An event close to my heart which I passionately recommend to families is happening this spring, Runway Moms for the Cause. Runway Moms for a Cause (RMFC) is a fashion show and gala which raises funds for non-profit organizations.  The beneficiary of the May 8, 2014 show is Kidsave International, which finds loving homes for forgotten older children worldwide living in orphanages and in need of parents.

Lara Akinsanya is the founder of RMFC and the face behind internationally acclaimed ready-to-wear clothing brand L~Shandi Designs. Her designs are STUNNING, detailed and highlight a woman’s body like nothing I have ever worn. Since Lara’s grand entrance to the global fashion scene, she has been heralded by the media and is an active member of the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce. She has participated on panel discussions related to economic development through fashion programs in the greater Washington DC area. And she is a mother of twin preschoolers!

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I was honored to interview Lara via e-mail about her successful fashion design platform, work to raise awareness on issues close to her heart and the May 8 Runway Moms for the Cause event for local parents!

A Parent in Silver Spring: How did you conceive of Runway Moms for the Cause?
Lara Akinsaya: Volunteering my time, money, talent, services, etcetera is a part of who I am (thanks to my mom.) I have organized many small groups together to help others in different forms and capacities. Creating Runway Moms for a Cause was a natural next step for me using all the resources that I had available.

What drives you to devote your (limited!) time and energies to this project?
I find it fulfilling to give more than to receive. Therefore, the feeling of giving to someone else in need drives me to devote my time and energy to this project.

What charity did you choose as the Cause for 2014?
Kidsave International. Kidsave has helped over 12 governments and 3,000 children. Yet countless children live in orphanages and foster care. Kidsave’s goal is  to give every child has a permanent family. I hope that our event will help with that.

Thanks so much for choosing me again as a “mom model”! As a designer you usually work with professional models. What made you choose local mothers for your catwalk?
I chose real mothers active in the community because moms are selfless and giving in nature. Plus I also want to give the participating moms a chance to get pampered and made over along the way.

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Fellow model Kelly Collis and her partner-in-crime Tommy McFly. By the way, turn on  The Tommy Show on 94.7 Fresh FM every single morning, ‘k?

How can local businesses get involved?
Businesses can help spread the word about our cause; they can volunteer to model, donate goods/services to auction off or raffle off, purchase sponsorship package, ad space, purchase tickets to the event, or donate directly to Kidsave. My hope is that we all end up promoting one another by working together.

I think the Runway Moms for the Cause gala is a fabulous date night or moms’ night out!  What do you think makes this evening unique and fun?
Any deserving mom can walk the runway, and items for the auction and giveaways will be especially for moms, kids, and families. We will have special performances for guests to enjoy. The event is also unique in the sense that most of us involved are all volunteers (the goal is to have everything at the event done by volunteers) rallied together for one purpose: to raise funds for Kidsave International. I am not a non-profit and not affiliated with Kidsave. I heard about them, met some of the orphaned children and felt compelled to help however way I can.

Thank you Lara!I am a media partner of Runway Moms for the Cause, happily donating my time to help promote this event. I attended Runway Moms for the Cause in 2011 and my husband Chris and I had one of our best nights out ever. I love that the ticket price is accessible for such a luxurious gala, and that all proceeds go to helping children in need. I am also walking as a “mom model” with some phenomenal women in the community.

VIP and general admission tickets are heavily discounted until March 31. I heartily recommend the VIP ticket because at the last event the goodie bag included a couture purse handmade by the amazing Lara!

I also urge businesses to sponsor this event. Sponsorship packages are very reasonable and media partners include small fry like me and big fish like Washingtonian Mom.

Runway Moms for the Cause is the greatest charity event I have attended, and after 20 years of DC fundraisers? Honey, that is saying A LOT.

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