In the Donor Spotlight we recognize a Youth Service, Inc. donor making an impact in the communities we serve. Cali Shabazz of Dear Laney, has hosted a 3k walk to raise awareness to youth homelessness in Philadelphia for the past 4 years.This year, due to COVID-19, the walk has been cancelled. However, she decided to sell reusable masks to raise money to donate to YSI. To order a mask and support YSI please visit: xodearlaney.com/youthwalk
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
A: My name is Cali Shabazz, I am a Philly native and lover of all things Philadelphia. I went to school in hopes of becoming a biologist. I became a teen mother and realized I had to work and put school on hold for the moment. I ended up starting a blog and online vintage shop when my son was 3 years old and fell deeply involved with clothing with a history. As sales started to increase, I wanted more. I wanted something of my own not just vintage pieces. I looked into starting a clothing line, researched and studied for a few years before starting what is now Dear Laney, a contemporary bohemian apparel brand. I’ve been a business owner for 6 years now and have a showroom in South Philadelphia and warehouse that does all of our online fulfillment.
Q: How did you first get involved in with Youth Service, Inc. (YSI)? What attracted you to our cause?
A: I was introduced to the former marketing director by my best friend Kyron Ryals who volunteers for YSI. I was attracted to YSI because I could relate to the programs that were available and I love helping as much as I can, especially the youth.
Q: Why did you choose YSI when you were looking for an organization to donate to?
A: I love Philly youth, I believe my purpose in life is to give back and help shape a better future by sharing my journey and impacting as many children as possible.
Q: What motivates you to stay involved? Why do you donate?
A: The people in charge. Gwen Bailey is very kind and has been since I met her years ago. I also love putting on our annual 3k youth walk to raise awareness to YSI. We have been featured on NBC10 twice for holding our annual autumn walk.
Q: Why do you think it is important to support YSI?
A: I believe that it’s important to take care of home and home is the youth in our city. There are children who need us and families as well. As a community, we need to stick together and help those in need. This isn’t called the City of Brotherly Love for nothing.