Orphans from the Philippines and underprivileged girls from Illinois received 50 handmade sundresses from Stitching a Legacy, a nonprofit organization created by McKara Caldwell, a 17-year-old girl from Sherrard, Illinois, in October of last year.
With the help of life insurance company Royal Neighbors of America (RNA) and its program Difference Maker Fund (DMF), Caldwell was given a $200 dollar mini-grant to showcase her sundresses in a fashion show and later donated them to the above-mentioned girls.
Caldwell and a host of volunteers raced against the clock to create the sundresses to model on the runway. This was done “in one afternoon [for] girls in domestic violence shelters, half-way homes, refugee safe places, and hospitals, as well as an orphanage in the Philippines,” said RNA in a press release.
The outcome left onlookers amazed, and won Stitching a Legacy the grand prize in DMF’s online poll, earning the charity an additional $500 dollars.
Caldwell is no ordinary teen. She can be spotted promoting Stitching a Legacy on Facebook, sewing sundresses by hand, and competing in Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, a beauty pageant.
Over the years, she has acquired several glamorous and colorful dresses as a competitor, but no dress was as dazzling and life-changing as the one she saw at 13-years-old.
“When preparing for my first ‘big girl’ pageant, my mom took me dress shopping for a long, sparkly evening gown,” Caldwell told Lady Freethinker. “I found this beautiful purple dress covered in sequence that I loved, but of course, it was $200 and I didn’t have that kind of money as a 13-year-old. So, I decided to forget about the dress. A few days later my birthday came up and sure enough, my mom surprised me with the dress as a birthday present! I tried it on for my family that night and although I had no makeup on and my hair in a ponytail, I felt beautiful. I told my mom that I somehow wanted to give dresses to other girls to help them feel like I did that night. That sparked Stitching a Legacy! We have made and delivered about 600 dresses for orphaned and underprivileged girls since!”