Formally Ever After: A Community Founded on Kindness
#InspirationInfluenceImpact #AuthenticityInEDU #TLAPdownunder #FormallyEverAfter Karen Caswell
Tammy Robinson has been asked 'Why?" many times over the last few years. Why does she spend so much of her spare time and energy running the program and making sure students are dressed for their formals. For her, the answer is easy.
"I wanted to show our young adults that kindness is free. I want to empower our young people and teach them that we as a community can create a ripple effect of kindness. We can create a village of beautiful caring humans who want to make sure that every student attends their formals looking and feeling amazing.
One big thing I pride the program on is I want the best we can give for our students, I want to respect them and show them how much they deserve to have beautiful outfits gifted to them. A young adult shouldn't be burdened by the cost of formal wear and they shouldn't miss out on attending their formal or graduation. Parents shouldn't feel like failures due to lack of finances or be getting into huge debt they will struggle to pay back.
As a community, and now communities further away also joining in, we are creating a program together where we look after each other's children. We are impacting these students' lives and also filling their families hearts with love and kindness. We are taking what we don't need and making others happy. My heart feels with so much gratitude to every person who supports this program.
I hear so many precious stories every appointment I do of people struggling to just afford daily needs and just want a helping hand. When they find this program they breathe a sigh of relief and we help lift that huge burden.
There are so many stories that are changing lives:
A mum who lost her job due to the 2022 floods and was on the verge of homelessness.
A dad who's wife passed away and is trying his best to raise his kids alone and give his oldest what she's worked hard for.
A mum whose daughter has struggled with anxiety and depression and has finally agreed to go to formal but won't go to a shop.
An aunty who cares for her nephew and her own kids on a very low income because both parents passed away.
A social worker who found my page and reached out for two young men who aren't going to formal because they got kicked out of home and are living on government benefits and just cover rent and food.
A police officer who wants the young adults they are mentoring to experience the pride of being in a suit and standing proud and tall as they start a new improved journey in life, with new skills to set them on the right track.
A school group who just feel different because of anxiety, autism & ADHD and feel even more anxious around strangers.
A teacher asking for help with a student who has two days to formal and has absolutely nothing and can't ask her family.
A sister who wants her beautiful little sister to shine as she finishes 13 years of school and is the only one in their family to ever finish her education.
A dad who brings his daughter because she wants a suit and doesn't feel comfortable in a dress at all.
A grandma who has helped raise her granddaughter and been a carer to her daughter, using all the money they have on the special needs of the daughter.
A foster mum who has fostered over 15 young adults and is still fostering and just needs a hand to make sure the young man in her care has an awesome suit for his formal that he worked so hard to get to.
The mum whose dying wish is to see her girl formal shop and graduate and just wants to give her everything but her illness means no work, so one income in the household.
A family whose business closed because of covid and now can only go to food banks and have spent time living in their car and a tent.
A mum who's transgender son is worried he won't be allowed to try on a suit and will feel uncomfortable and not accepted.
A girl who just wants to feel like a princess for one day and lives independently so knows it won't happen.
A young boy who wants to wear a dress to formal and has never been to a place where they help him shop.
A school guidance officer who knows a young man who has a really bad home life and just wants him to have something special.
A mum who lost everything in the New South Wales floods and relocated to Queensland with absolutely nothing and wants her twin girls to be able to have something pretty to wear to formal.
A young lady who messaged me asking for help because she sees her mum cry about money everyday and doesn't want to ask to go to formal.
A girl who is a size 26 and thinks no one will ever have a dress to fit her or one she'll look pretty in.
A young man asking if I can help his girlfriend who lives with them and they support.
A lovely man who brings his daughter for help then returns with three other young girls in need.
And the stories and needs go on and on and on...
But together we are making a difference and we are impacting lives. People say why do you do this when you get nothing in return? Those people don't understand kindness is free. They don't see the faces of the students when they come here and get what they need. They don't see the relief and tears of the parents. They don't see the overwhelming happiness.
A teacher today told me the student she asked me to help wrote me a thank you card I'll be keeping that card forever because I know how much that young girl needed people to care about her. A parent told me after meeting me, their child wants to volunteer and help others.
Formally Ever After is creating a beautiful amazing ripple of kindness and love. Thank you to everyone of you who make this program possible and who have made it such an amazing success. We are just over 11000 strong now and rising every day.
Keep sharing so we reach those who need us. Keep sharing so we don't have young adults missing out. Keep sharing so we make sure all our communities can try and do their bit in making someone's day a little better. Let kindness ripple."
Listen to Tammy's Inspiration, Influence and Impact episode HERE.
View the amazing work, find out how to help and connect with Tammy at Formally Ever After on Facebook.