Making charity fashionable

October 21, 2008|By SHANNON BERRY / Pulse Correspondent

The girls involved with the Valley Mall Tween Style Board love the hottest fashions. But they also enjoy giving back to the community just as much.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Valley Mall, the members of Tween Style Board will host a food drive for Food Resources Inc., which will wrap up at the mall's Fall Festival. The event is for children and will include games, a reptile show, the Very Important Kids (VIK) area, a craft area, prize giveaways and more.

The Valley Mall Tween Style Board is a group of tween-aged girls who have meetings once a month starting in July and lasting through March.

Each meeting has a different topic such as etiquette, posture, skin care, makeup, hair care and nail care. Members practice runway for fashion shows. Two fashion shows have already been held, The Herald-Mail Fashion Show and the Fall into Winter Fashion Show.


However, Tween Style is not all about fashion. Tween Style coordinators Tracy Gargon and Vicki Tamburo, of Dress to Impress LLC, based in Clarksville, Md., said the goal of the board is to build self-confidence, promote community awareness and service.

Tamburo and Gargon started the board after working years as professional models and actresses. They decided to create fashion board for teens to share their knowledge.

"We noticed that girls were becoming passionate about fashion at younger and younger ages, so we also developed a program targeting the special needs and interests of tweens," Gargon said. "Our goal is to help young people feel better about themselves and all they have to offer."

"We also thought it would be great for a mall to feature youth from its surrounding community involved in positive activities at the mall as opposed to just hanging out and behaving poorly as they often are known to do," Tamburo said.

This is the second year for Tween Style at Valley Mall. "We've grown tremendously in a very short time," Tamburo said.

Girls participate all sorts of activities through their term, which is one year. The girls are interviewed in the summer to become members of the board.

Members are selected on the basis of academic achievements, personality, personal hygiene, fashion awareness and community service interest.

Everyone is able to show off their newly acquired modeling abilities in two Valley Mall fashion shows. The next show is the Summer Fashion Show on Feb. 14, 2009.

Even more important is that all the girls are required to participate in service activities on behalf of the group and the mall.

"We like to think of this as 'paying it forward,'" Tamburo said. "In return for having the opportunity to participate in this free program, our members say 'thanks' by giving back to their community."

In addition to the food drive, members will be assisting with Santa's Arrival from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 8. The event is directed by Brian Kaltenbaugh, Valley Mall marketing director.

Both Gargon and Tamburo want the girls to get more than a fashion lesson from participating. "We hope that all of our Tween Style members have lots of fun, meet many new friends, and feel more confident about themselves through their participation," Gargon said.

"We know that everyone cannot be a professional model, but everyone can definitely be a good role 'model' for their peers - that is our wish for all of our Tween Style girls," Tamburo said.

If you go ...

What: Tween Style Board's food drive

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25

Where: Valley Mall, Halfway Boulevard

More: For more information on the Valley Mall Tween Style Board visit or for the dates for the interviews in summer 2009 visit

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