Starting a business at any age can be a daunting task, however, as you will learn from this month's community spotlight, the light always shines brightly on Ms. Alesha Wilson. Having graduated from the Florida A&M University in 2013, and, while working on a project in New York City that provided gowns to underserved youth so that they could attend their senior prom, Alesha thought about how that idea could be done in her beloved Prince George's County, Maryland. She started small, asking family and close friends to donate gowns and accessories to help start the concept. And by 2017, Once Upon a Gown was launched and young people from throughout the Washington, DC area were encouraged to come to the special event held in March to select prom and homecoming attire and accessories at no charge!
Alesha quickly realized that young men were just as interested in dressing up for the prom as were young ladies. Her annual event mushroomed to include men's attire featuring suits, ties, shoes and other accessories and in 2018, at the age of 27, Alesha became the CEO and President of The Right Fit, Inc. Ivy Community Charities became a sponsor and a partner of The Right Fit with our members providing gowns and accessories as well as volunteering at the annual March events.
When Charities' e-newsletter announced the Ivy Village Incubator for Nonprofit Excellence (Ivy VINE), Alesha was the first person to respond and asked "how can I get involved?" Our response was immediate and she was invited to become a member of the Ivy VINE Community Advisory Committee that is charged with developing the criteria for identifying and selecting the nonprofits and entrepreneurs that will participate in the Ivy VINE, the training and collaboration initiatives, the design and equipping of the training center and the office suites, etc.
On September 26, 2021 Alesha was selected to respond to the welcome offered by Charities Board President Cheryl W. Owens at the Ivy VINE's groundbreaking. Her remarks which included the challenges associated with cancelling her annual event due to the pandemic for two consecutive years, candidly and compassionately spoke to the purposes and need for the Ivy VINE from the perspective of an emerging nonprofit executive. We thank Alesha and applaud her community service to date and the contributions that we are confident she will make to help the Ivy VINE succeed. The other members of the Community Advisory Committee are Valarie Ashley (Fair Chance), Robert Kee (Care First), Glenn Mahone (Vision Consulting, LLC), Ashanti Martinez (CASA), Jeff McFarland (Prince George's Community College Foundation), Andrew Roud (St. John Properties), Howard Stone (Prince George's County Government), Tiffany Turner-Allen (Nonprofit Prince George's County, Inc.), and Shelly Gross Wade (Prince George's Financial Services Corporation).