Project Assisting Ladies by Offering Essentials (A.L.O.E.) is the latest program to provide help to young girls graduating from high school. Established in 2010 by Jumoke Dada, the program’s mission is to provide education and beauty tips to young women who are entering their first year in college.
“A few years ago, I had an epiphany after I watched young girls come into a salon to get their hair done,” Dada said. “I wanted to have a program that led up to an annual event where girls could receive beauty advice from experts. It later turned into a beauty drive where we worked with hair salons and other local businesses to help collect beauty, hair and toiletries items. We package them and give them away to girls who are going away to college.
“For a lot of our young girls, it is the first time that they will be away from home. They need to know how to take care of themselves, because things will be different when you are on campus. A lot of girls will have to start doing their own hair instead of going to a salon. We just wanted to provide them with the right tools, so that they will know how to take care of themselves, and do it in a healthy way.”
In addition to giving away care packages, the program is also starting a mentoring program called Campus Sisters.
“This is the first time we are implementing something like this,” Dada said. “The mentoring program is specifically geared toward girls who will be attending the same college as other girls who are in our program. When students first go to college, it can be uncomfortable at first. We want to make sure that our girls have some kind of connection at the school, so that it will be easier for them to adjust.”
Project A.L.O.E. will have a culmination event on Aug. 4 at 1901 Market Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Pennsylvania Chapter will be sponsoring the event. The speakers will include Viviane Aires, VSkin Makeup, Jamira Burley, Philadelphia Youth Commission, Anowa Adjah, Powerhouse Physiques and Carla Clarkson, Marki Star Agency. KYW Newsradio’s Cherri Gregg Mincey will be the host.
“We have had a lot of success with Project A.L.O.E. so far, but we are continuing to build on it,” she said. “In the future, I wouldn’t mind branching out and doing a similar program for the young men who are college bound, but right now I still want to perfect the program for the girls. I’m hoping that each girl sees our care package as a small token of affection from people who can relate to where they are now, because we were once there ourselves.”