HairBoutique.com annually receives hundreds of emails and other requests to sponsor many different worthy causes ranging from supporting deadly diseases, to helping women's shelters, girl scout troops and various church events. We are also asked to provide gifts or donations for cheerleader squads, bridal showers and sororities. (Photo above of Sydney La'ren Moll - courtesy of Angel Marie Moll - all rights reserved).
A few years ago we decided that the best way to fairly handle the many requests was to create an annual formal gift giving program to support the charities that are most meaningful to all of us at HairBoutique.com.
As a result we actively support the diseases that significantly impact women such as heart disease, breast, lung and colon cancer. We also give to various Texas women's shelters and charities that help young women. Very recently we co-sponsored a HairBoutique.com employee in a major Dallas based leukemia event.
Miss Massachusettes Pre-Teen
Although we would love to be able to support all the worthwhile causes that are proposed to us, as you can imagine, it is just not possible to financially support all the groups that contact us. Therefore, when an email arrived in February asking HairBoutique.com to sponsor a young woman in her quest for the title of Miss Massachusettes Pre-Teen her email automatically went into the Polite Decline folder.
Normally I do not even see the many requests since I am usually buried up to my eyebrows in AskKaren or other HairBoutique.com business correspondence. But the fates must have been nudging me because I accidentally stumbled across the sweetly earnest email written by 10 year old Sydney La'ren Moll from Bellingham, Massachusettes.
When I read Sydney's polite and sincere request for HairBoutique.com to sponsor her hair accessories for the July 15th run at the Miss Massachusettes Pre-Teen title I instantly flashed back to my own life at the age of 10. I remember being horrified at the life altering requirement to sell girl scout cookies. Our troop leader gave us the rah-rah pep talk and encouraged us to sell a boatload of cookies.
I eagerly put on my little scout outfit and went on doorbell duty. While all the close neighbors who had to regularly see my parents at church, politely signed up for a respectable number of sandwich cookies, complete strangers did not react so well to my peddling. I had doors slammed in my face and people yell at me for soliciting. I even had a few dogs chase me.
Chutzpah And Courage
When I thought about the fact that Sydney was sending a heartfelt request to a complete stranger thousands of miles away, I was very impressed. This young lady had class, chutzpah and amazing courage. I could not even imagine myself doing such a brave thing when I was her age. Heck, I was horrified at the idea of selling cookies and who doesn't like cookies?
I was incredibly touched by Sydney's email and spontaneously picked up the phone and called her mother to get more details. Sydney's mom Angel Marie was warm and welcoming. She explained that the National American Miss pageant required all of the contestants like her daughter to request outside corporate sponsors for their various pageant outfits.
The pageant officials believe that it shows a true dedication and commitment to the process if the contestants are required to step up to the plate and find corporate partners and sponsors. This requirement was designed to teach the young contestants valuable lessons of reaching for their goals.
OK. So I was even more impressed by the willingness of this 10 year old girl to take risks in order to fulfill her dreams of competing in this worthwhile contest.
I was surprised when Angel told me that Sydney loved to visit HairBoutique.com because we had so many beautiful hair accessories, which is why she had decided to ask us to be her accessory sponsor. Obviously this young woman had done her homework. She also had been thoughtful about whom she approached for sponsorship and why. In an email from Sydney she explained further that she originally discovered HairBoutique.com when she was searching for updos to try for her pageant.
I asked Angel what type of success Sydney had with her quest to recruit appropriate sponsors. She confided that many people either completely ignored the emails or did not respond very nicely.
Angel reported that even though many people didn't respond or completely blew Sydney off, she didn't give up and would just write to more potential sponsors. Again, I was in awe of the determination of this 10 year old young lady. Obviously this pageant means a lot to her and she was willing to work hard to make her dreams come true.
I discovered that Sydney is currently in Junior High (in the 5th grade) where she is a very active in cheerleading, theatre and spending time with her many friends. Sydney's long range dream for her life is to be a mediation lawyer and someday work with management of celebrity contracts. She believes that this would be something she'd enjoy and find very rewarding.
Sydney sees the pageant as her opportunity of a lifetime and part of the next steps she can take to follow through on future endeavors. The pageant is designed to highlight the individual contestant's personal style and goals but also to help them learn to achieve their lifelong goals.
Accessorizing For The Pageant
Naturally, after hearing so much about Sydney, I was honored to donate HairBoutique.com hair accessories for her pageant quest. After all, the least I could do was reward her for her obvious determination and willingness to step outside the box.
Through a series of emails with Sydney and her mom I learned about some incredibly difficult challenges that this little family had endured. I also saw how supportive and loving Angel was regarding Sydney's fearless determination to be in the pageant of her dreams.
Sydney and I exchanged emails discussing what accessories might work best for her different pageant outfits and her hair. Sydney was very polite and totally thoughtful in her requests. At first she informed me that she would be "very appreciative and happy with whatever I sent" no matter what I chose.
Her unselfish demands made me more determined then ever to try and select specific accessory items that would help her have a better chance at looking spectacular for the pageant.
Over 3,000 Hair Accessories To Select From
Keeping in mind that HairBoutique.com currently has over 3,000 different hair accessories from many fabulous designers I seriously had no clue what Sydney might like or need for her various outfits. After additional probing on my part, Sydney sent me a list of some items that she felt might work well with her various outfits.
Even though she helped me out by sending some specific suggestions, she repeatedly told me that she would appreciate whatever I felt I wanted to donate.
Not only did she touch my heart with her sincere and charming correspondence, I was impressed with her exquisite taste and her very modest requests. For her interview suit she shyly mentioned that she would love a cream colored silk L. Erickson headband. For her other outfits she showed interest in a beautiful Art Deco barrette and crystal encrusted bobby pins that I had personally designed for HairBoutique.com.
I drafted HairBoutique.com's Jim to help me select all of the various items for Sydney. I also asked Jimmy to carefully wrap all of Sydney's selections in tissue and bubble wrap making sure that the package was sent to her in a timely manner.
During the accessory selection process Jim had an additional phone conversation with Sydney's mom and he reported that she was "such a sweet lady who seemed so proud of her daughter".
After Sydney received her hair accessories she and her mom left me wonderful thank you voice messages in addition to sending me written email notes. Angel also sent me a photo of Sydney (see above) so I could put a face to the correspondence.
To show her mutual support for HairBoutique.com's sponsorship, both Angel and Sydney have made it a point to visit HairBoutique.com daily while referring us to their friends and family. What a wonderful compliment for all of us.
Throughout our various emails and other conversations I learned that Sydney is working very hard every day to get ready for this major event in her life. This little girl has demonstrated poise, discipline and a go-getter attitude.
Regardless whether Sydney wins in the July Miss Massachusettes Pre-Teen contest, she has already proven to all of us at HairBoutique.com that she is a true winner and will go far in her life. Making her dreams come true is only a matter of time.