The Aug. 16 show featured spoken word, a beat-box performance by Carnage the Executioner, and many stylish teen fashion looks.
The new retail space is a secondhand boutique that caters to pre-teen girls, teenage girls and young adult women. The store's mission is allowing young ladies to see themselves in their next level "enriched with class." Project DIVA is helping young ladies and women embrace everyday changes as they transition into their next levels in life, not just through their shopping experience, but also through life coaching sessions, creative image workshops, and career transitional services.
"We wanted to celebrate the kids going back to school, it's not very often that we get to," said Keeya Allen, creative image consultant for Raiding a DIVA's Closet. "It's like a clean slate, going back to school for another year is like a new chance for them to start over. We're all aware of the bad rap that north Minneapolis gets, but it's mostly not true. Our children have the same dreams."
Raiding a DIVA's Closet actually started out two years ago as an annual shopping excursion sponsored by Project DIVA and the Premium Diva & Company in north Minneapolis. It was designed to help girls in the community shop for gently-used clothing, and receive personal shopping and image support to help them carve out a personal brand.
Aside from the fashion, Project DIVA is primarily a nonprofit organization designed to instill life skills through life coaching. Project DIVA mentors share how having self-respect leads to making better choices through their Let's Talk About It sessions, financial literacy, focused writing, community service and key collaborations that help teen girls and adult women of all ages in preparing to handle real life situations throughout high school and into adulthood.
Project DIVA supports young women where they are in life through one-on-one and group mentoring. The coaches objectives are to mentor the young ladies so that they make the best possible decisions regarding their careers and daily living situations as they transition through middle school into high school and then into adulthood through self-discovery sessions and entrepreneurial training.
Project DIVA is unique because its program deals with true-to-life situations. Unlike many other programs in the Twin Cities, Project DIVA focuses on each participant's individual growth by keeping their number capped at 30 young ladies per year per chapter.
"We wanted to find our way to make young girls and women feel empowered, comfortable asking questions, and getting connected with the resources they need," said Allen, who is also a life mentoring coach with Project DIVA. "To see people go to that next level, whether it's the next school year or a new job, whatever that looks like, wherever you want to go, as long as it's forward. There's no shame is seeking a little guidance."
Prior to opening a full-time space of its own, Project DIVA held its mentoring and workshops at the MetroTech Career Academy (1704 Dupont Ave. N.). "We were so blessed this year to receive the funding that we needed for this full-time, up and running boutique," said Allen.
Raiding a DIVA's Closet is now located at 1112 Lowry Ave. N. Hours are Monday through Thursday 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed on Sundays. Project DIVA is currently accepting donations such as gently-used clothing, accessories, shoes, and financial contributions. For more information, visit www.ProjectDIVAs.com.