Lorrie Wilson is bubbly and self-assured as she tries on a barrage of clothing for a fashion show featuring foster kids and their supporters. She chatters about which outfit is the most flattering, but her reasons for participating go deeper than the print dress and chocolate pleather blazer she selects.
As a Women in Philanthropy volunteer, Wilson is determined to help teens soon to emancipate out of the foster care system choose a productive path into adulthood. Simply dressing them in nice clothing and cheering them on the runway can be enough to light a spark of self-worth, she says. These kids have to “work harder and fight harder” because they don’t have supportive parents or consistency in their lives. “We can’t do anything unless we have that self confidence,” she says. “You can learn that job, but self-esteem has to come from within you.”