Last week we highlighted Victims to Victory, which is responding to the emotional, spiritual and practical needs of family members who have felt the traumatic impact of violent crime. This week let us discuss an organization that is taking a unique approach to philanthropy by combining the joys of socializing with friends and hosting glitzy afternoon tea parties with the goal of supporting one young girl each year: Tiara Tea Society.
Tiara Tea Society was founded in 2006 by Eva Lynn Bishop and Marie Pizano. While pursuing philanthropic endeavors together, the two jokingly reminisced about being little girls who dressed up in their mothers’ old clothes and had tea parties. The premise then built around hosting glamorous afternoon tea parties where women of all ages could dress up, come together and unlock their inner child. The real mission, however, was to use these events as a platform to help little girls in dire conditions or situations. Each year, the organization coronates at least one young girl, who is supported financially and empowered through personal involvement to improve her life.
In its fifth year, Tiara Tea Society has helped improve the lives of eight girls, including three from the Mid-South. The Society’s 2011 little girl is three-year-old Ceniyah Danae Dotson. Ceniyah was only two months old when she lost more than half her family in a notorious mass killing in 2008. Stabbed, beaten and found impaled on a knife, baby Ceniyah survived – along with two of her brothers – who lived against all odds.
Earlier this year, a glittering Coronation Tea was held for Ceniyah. Apart from helping to provide for pediatric post-traumatic stress therapy to foster emotional healing, the Society is working to help her blossom through the arts. Janet Parke, director of the School of Dance at Ballet Memphis, put together a four-week summer class built around Ceniyah to see if ballet would not only help her physically but also give her mental and emotional “balance.” It turns out that a star has been born! Ceniyah loves ballet and has been thriving in the classes. So, the Tiara Tea Society has committed to funding her future ballet endeavors.
On Oct. 2, Tiara Tea Society will be holding a Grande Dame Tea to induct Mrs. Carol Prentiss as a Grande Dame of the Tiara Society. A Grande Dame is a woman who has completed a life’s work of charity and help for our community. Ceniyah and two of the Society’s earlier princesses will be in attendance and part of the presentation.
Tiara Tea Society offers another perfect example of how we can be creative in our efforts to give back. I encourage you to learn more by visiting http://www.tiarateasociety.org/ or contacting their founder-president-CEO, Eva Lynn Bishop at 210-3516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.