BBBSEMO’s 2018 Diva for a Day

My Best Me, Our Best Us: Little Sisters shine at Diva for a Day 2018

BBBSEMO's 10th annual Diva for a Day, held at Weissman's Dancewear Solutions in late March, brought high school-aged Little Sisters together for a night of celebrating their individual styles, spark, and sway.

Big Sisters, Littles' family members, and volunteers from Express Scripts joined agency staff to make the night -- which included a professional fashion shoot with photographer Chris Bauer -- a time devoted to putting the spotlight on Little Sisters in whatever way (and dress) they chose.

Two participants, for example, cited singer-songwriter Beyonce as a style icon. "Why? Because she slays everything she wears!" said Little Sister Orkeia, a graduating senior and two-time BBBSEMO Diva.

The Littles shared an admiration. But the two Queen Bey fans picked gowns that were very distinct -- an aspect capturing how each Little, from dress and make-up to accessories and photo poses, showed their individuality and beauty.

Big Sisters and family there to help Divas sift through jewelry or grab SweetArt cupcakes talked about their Littles' best traits.

"Her smile is infectious," said nine-year Big Sister Tamara, "you can't help but to smile yourself."

Big Sister Arianne, a three-time Diva attendee, said her Little, Rebecca, "has a really loving heart... she's also very goal-oriented."

A mother looked over affectionately at her daughter browsing the racks. "Daisha's very unique," she said, "but she's herself. She's just beautiful all around."

The 2018 edition of Diva for a Day also incorporated hands-on STEM activities with St. Louis College of Pharmacy students who led participants in making their own body butters and lip scrubs, and also lent make-up support.

“We were very happy to have STLCOP on-board," says Tashanna Rucker, Senior Director of Big Futures at BBBSEMO, "because they brought that component to life."

"They were great at engaging our Littles about experiences with college. And seeing students who have a very entrepreneurial spirit as well as getting to make their own natural products was a very genuine and organic way to incorporate a life-after-high school piece,” Rucker adds, noting how many graduating seniors typically enjoy Diva for a Day.

That element of envisioning-and-action reinforced the event's guiding theme: "[E]mpowering our Littles -- and Bigs -- to own their unique, beautiful selves," says BBBSEMO's Resource and Support Manager Madeline Sowatsky. "The details of Diva for a Day were reminders that beauty is about who we are internally, and getting to express that externally."

Kary Thompson, Senior Director of Team Support and Diva for a Day veteran, affirms the sentiment with a note that centering Little Sisters through this special event embodies what it means to be "my best me, our best us."

“All the dynamics of who’s behind the Little – whether it was the Big who showed up and helped with dress trials (‘Let’s try 13 before we get the right one!’), the parent who drove their Little, the staff there to support," she says, "Diva for a Day captured it all.”

Want to see more images from Diva for a Day 2018? Check out the photo gallery on BBBSEMO's Facebook page... and remember to follow @BBBSEMO on Instagram and Twitter -- we'd love you to tag us when you share your own Diva pics!

Photo credit: CBauer Photography, and BBBSEMO