August 14, 2021

The Annual Suburban Balance youth Fashion Show Fundraiser aimed to shine a spotlight on the importance of Educational Equity and to bring students together for some fun before heading back to school. It accomplished that and much more.

This year’s theme was “WALK for EQUITY” and the youth models were students from Lee’s Summit and surrounding school districts. For the past several years, this Lee’s Summit based non-profit has been advocating for equitable policies and practices in school districts all across the metro to improve academic outcomes for students.

Although the organization’s advocacy work has made great progress which help lead to an approved equity plan in school districts like Lee’s Summit, there’s still so much more work to do. “The fashion show was the perfect platform to engage both students and parents around the importance of Equity,” said Suburban Balance Founder and CEO LaShawn Walker, and engagement was exactly the result at last Sunday’s Fundraiser which raised $6,500. Suburban Balance friends and families and members from the community were invited to come out and support Suburban Balance students as they strutted down the runway in their own favorite outfits for a great cause.

During intermission students led the conversation around what they’ve been doing in their schools to bring about equitable programs and Ray-Pec Sophomore, Skyelar Anderson shared how she took the initiative to start the Black student union at her high school. Suburban Balance Alumni students even came back to “walk for equity.” Other students utilized the opportunity to discuss how they are making a difference on their college campuses to shine a spotlight on equity and other students emphasized the importance of speaking up and attending school board meetings as a way to impact change. Walker said, “it has always been one of her top priorities to include student voices in the conversations around equity, after all that’s who this work centers around. The fact is we can learn a significant amount from students if we include them in our equity discussions. Our students inspire me and I look forward to getting to work on their behalf.”

Suburban Balance has 400 families all across the metro involved and the tiniest student to Alumni students were welcomed to “walk for equity.” Each year, interest in the annual fashion show grows and it has now become a student favorite amongst all the substantive programming the organization provides. “I wanted to ensure this fundraiser was both educational and a blast for our students, said LaShawn and since our membership is growing in Kansas, I chose the beautiful and historic Prairie Fire Museum as the venue.” All proceeds from the event will go towards continuing the organization’s advocacy work and providing the most substantive educational programming possible. The Suburban Balance mission is to provide educational and cultural opportunities to suburban kids of color to help ensure they experience a well-balanced lifestyle while growing up in their suburban school districts or attend schools that lack diversity. This difference making non-profit organization’s members reside in 26 school districts and it continues to grow.

Suburban Balance has been a great support system for families for the past 8½ years. To learn more about Suburban Balance or donate to this local Lee’s Summit based 501c3 non-profit visit www.suburbanbalance.com.