Burlington, Mass.

Bat Mitzvah Girl Has a "Passion for Fashion"

Exclusive interview with Chava Yelloz, Inside Our Home Editor

Some people are just born entrepreneurs, but we think it’s pretty cool when a 10-year old fashionista starts a non-profit company called “Fashion for a Passion.” Kailee Abeshaus, now 13, and a few of her friends, are already veterans in designing, producing, modeling and selling their products for charity.  

It all started when Kailee and her friend Meghan Welch and a few more girlfriends designed miniature fashions and glued them onto gift shopping bags and greeting cards. These adorable items, some made out of pleated cup cake wrappers for skirts, were sold to friends and family and the proceeds were divided and sent to several charities.

Kailee tells us, "For my 10th birthday party, my parents thought it would be good if I did something for charity.”  In her enthusiastic teen voice, she continues, "So my friends and I made miniature paper outfits that we put on stationery and bags.”  Kailee’s mother explained that the mini fashions were decorated with rhinestones and other embellishments.

As part of her May 29th, 2010 Bat Mitzvah charity project, Kailee tells LLL that she surfed the net with the goal of finding an organization that helped young girls close to her own age. She says that when she discovered the Children’s Home on the Lev LaLev website, she knew that this was exactly what she was looking for. For her Bat Mitzvah charity project, Kailee, with the help of her friends, participated in Burlington’s Temple Sholom Emeth Mitzvah Mall (where she attends Hebrew School) donating the proceeds of her project to the Lev LaLev Fund.

Besides her Mitzvah Mall charity work, Kailee and her friend Meghan Welch, who both are 8th graders at the Marshall Simond Middle School in Burlington, Massachusetts, recently held a fashion show that coincided with Boston Fashion Week 2010. Kailee advertised the event by creating a flier then distributing it, and sending out e-vites online. This time they showcased their full-sized hand made clothing designs in Kailee’s backyard where 65 girls and women attended. The girls spent less than $50 designing and sewing four dresses for their models: Ashley Shafman, Sara Keelan, Amanda Gregorio and Samantha Maida. Kailee’s younger sister, Talia, who is ten years old, also modeled. Proceeds from this event went to  “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.” This charity is also close to Kailee’s heart, since her mother, Aviva, is a nine-year cancer survivor.
Planning and setting up such a large-scale fashion show would require a runway for the modes to strut their fashions. They’d also need special outdoor lighting and chairs. On his days off, Martin, Kailee’s dad, stepped up to the plate to help his industrious daughter and her friends by building a runway, stringing up outdoor lights, and also setting up a screen. Besides borrowing chairs from their Temple, guests also arrived carrying their own. For refreshments, the girls prepared and served cheese and crackers, vegetables and dips, and cookies.

After a little more conversation with Kailee, then her Mom, we learned about her written project too. It seems that since Kailee and her friend Megan’s designing became more serious, they came up with yet another approach to earn money for charity. To keep their friends in the loop of what’s trendy in the teen marketplace, the girls created a fashion e-magazine and called it “The Scoop.” Since last spring, they publish it each month during the school year since. They charge their friends and neighbors a minimal $1.00 per subscriber per month for this valuable periodical that describes fashion trends, tells the reader where to buy the goods shown and gives even them the cost of each item.
Each issue also focuses on a “Model-of-the-Month.”  The girls do the magazine layout, design the photo shoot for models, brainstorm ideas for articles and publish it. They are currently working on their fourth issue.

The girls at the Children’s Home in Netanya, Israel are in awe of Kailee, her family and her friends and classmates in Burlington, Massachusetts, who have reached out to them with help by working so hard to raise funds to help them celebrate their own bat mitzvahs. The Lev LaLev Fund and our special girls all say “Kol HaKavod – All the Honors” to Kailee Abeshaus and her wonderfully generous family, and thank them from the bottom of their hearts!


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