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From Foster Care to Fashion: When the World Becomes Your Runway
American Dream Scholar Timothy Tatum prides himself on his unique sense of style.
Last year’s inaugural “Slay the Runway” event was run by and featured youth in care at HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services. “I had walked two runway shows before and wanted to give it a try,” said Timothy Tatum.
Although he’s nailed down the walk, Timothy always practices new poses to stand out on the runway. “With Melody Centeno, we practiced for weeks leading up to the event,” Timothy recalled. Melody, former foster care youth and American Dream Scholar, helped sponsor the fashion show and prepped the models.
The practice paid off when Timothy got noticed. “Following Slay the Runway, I was called for a couple of shows,” he said. Up-and-coming designers have approached him. “The more work you do, the more you’re recognized,” he said.
Timothy also set himself apart wearing a custom made suit at the HSVS Annual Dinner last November. The Bearded Dapper Gents, a movement started by NYC blogger and photographer George Myrie to transform how the public perceives African American men, donated the pieces, which the young men of HSVS wore to the Tribeca 360 fundraiser.
Tatum’s growing confidence is something that he can bring back with him to the classroom. Tatum is a participant in HeartShare St. Vincent’s American Dream Program and aspires to a career in business. This past year, at LaGuardia Community College, Tatum took courses including Introduction to Business, Broadcasting, Philosophy and Sociology. His favorite class? Public Speaking.
“Of course, I was a little nervous, but I chose a subject that I was comfortable with. I remembered to keep eye contact with the group,” Timothy said.
From his sense of style to his public speaking skills, Timothy has a bright future ahead of him. “I’m very interested in business,” he said, which is why Timothy changed his track from criminal justice to business this year.
The young men of HSVS wore custom suits donated by the Bearded Dapper Gents at the Annual Benefit. Timothy is second from the left. Melody Centeno, at podium, was formerly in care at HSVS and was honored for her work giving back to the organization.
The HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services will host its second annual fashion show, “Slay II,” on Thursday, July 13 at Sanders Studios, 525 Waverly Avenue in Brooklyn. Buy your tickets to the runway show and Cocktails for a Cause event here. All proceeds benefit the youth of HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services.