Event Flier (courtesy photo)

On March 26, 2022 Pasadena non-profit Jazzy Jams For Empowerment will be hosting a community event, “Yes! That’s My Dress!” A prom dress pop-up giveaway designed to get young women of color prepared the 2022 prom season.

Jazzy Jams For Empowerment (JJE) is an organization that has been working to benefit black communities for years. Founded by Jacqueline Snell, President, this organization was designed to sponsor support and bring out immense change in communities for people of color.

Snell, a Pasadena Native, realized the need for community building and support when her daughter first entered the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD).

“I’d lived in Pasadena my entire life and realized that my daughter wasn’t receiving the same resources that I had in school,” she told the Los Angeles Sentinel.

Members of the community donate their services to make sure girls are confident and ready for their big day.

This put a fire in Snell to start her own program to benefit young members of the community. She started by working to implement creative, hands-on education opportunities that promote healthier lifestyles. She also worked with Councilwoman Jacque Robinson to put on concerts to provide Pasadena schools with new resources such as computers for learning computer science.

It was during the COVID-19 pandemic when Snell started to see bigger problems surrounding mental health within black communities. She stated that “with so much sickness and unrest amongst black people. I had to revamp JJE, turning into 501-c3, to better serve the people in the mental sector.”

This led to the “Yes! That’s My Dress!” Event. Jacqueline partnered up with JJE Director of Marketing, Teanna Ross, to set up this prom pop-up. Ross has been doing these events since 2017 with different organizations and was excited to bring this annual event of hers to JJE.

Ross was influenced to put on these events while building her own community of black women after the birth of her son. “When I was growing up in Pasadena, there were many community resources designed just for girls that had a huge impact on my life,” Ross said through teary eyes. “I was building a community that offered me so much support during the struggles I had after my son’s birth, and I just wanted to give that back. I realized I needed to be the change I wanted to see.”

This prom pop-up is a FREE event, where girls [high school juniors and seniors] will be able to receive completely new dresses from Macy’s and the Macy’s Gives program. AT&T Pioneers and Becca’s Closet have also partnered with JJE to donate completely new dresses. JJE is hoping to serve about 150 girls with dresses as well as new shoes from them wear on their big day. They also admitted to the Los Angeles Sentinel that they have a few surprises up their sleeve for event attendees.

With teenaged black women having the highest suicide rates today, JJE has vowed to touch base on the organizations dedication of implementing better mental health services to communities of color. They have brought on counselors and therapist as a way to support and encourage young girls during their transitional high school experiences. Therapist and Counselors will also in attendance to provide services for parents.

“We want to shower the community with positive, uplifting gifts with our connection centered event. We will fill these girls up with words of affirmation with hopes to boost their self-esteem, while providing them with mental health serves to stop the stigma of mental health and mental health awareness,” said Ross.

Snell then continued to say that “the African American community lacks a foundation of mental health. JJE wants to really acknowledge the importance of the mental because we feel that the mental brain effects all that we do. We cannot attain to understand who we are if we don’t know who we are, so we work to encourages health and a healthy lifestyle and encourage self-esteem…especially with African American children. It really starts at the root!”

When asked what’s next for Jazzy Jam For Empowerment, the President stated that they are looking to do an event for young men next.

“We don’t discriminate. We are currently looking for ways to better service young men of color, and hopefully will do another drive for them next year around this same time.”

The “Yes! That’s My Dress!” Event will be on March 26th at The Westin Pasadena (191 N. Los Robles Ave. Pasadena, CA 91101) from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. For more information about Jazzy Jam For Empowerment or the event visit http://www.jazzyjamforempowerment.org. Registration for the event is required for attendance. To register for the event visit https://bit.ly/JazzyJamPasadena.