FirstThursday Jacksonville is excited to present Vanessa Pitts a soon to be 13 year old student at Lavilla School of the Arts and an aspiring entrepreneur

September 26, 2016 in Featured, Hot Business Tips, In the news, Members Only, Uncategorized by admin

Vanessa Pitts is a soon to be 13 year old student (October 6, 2016) at Lavilla School of the Arts and an aspiring entrepreneur. She enjoys motivating kids her age to “Be themselves and to be the best they can possibly be, regardless of circumstances”.

At the age of 8 years old, Vanessa held her first Annual  Summer’s Over Event for Girls-A Doll Pageant.  This event was designed to be a “Back to School Bash” of sorts. The Pageant focused on each girl’s originality, creativity and the importance of Education. Vanessa was also hoping to develop the event as a Business venture for extra cash to buy the things that she liked.  As a competitive Cheerleader from the age of 4 years old, she had grown accustomed to the fact that nearly all her friends from the Cheerleading World owned American Girl Dolls or 18 inch dolls of some type so this was an opportunity to raise some funds which was a little more exciting than a Lemonade Stand.

The Doll Pageant had 22 Participants and it was a great success. After paying out the expenses of the pageant, Vanessa cleared a very small profit. But most importantly, everyone left with a bag of Back to School supplies and excited about the upcoming school year.  Vanessa decided to try again the next year. She also wrote American Girl Doll wanting to discuss the idea with them. Unfortunately, the company responded that all ideas were taken from within the organization. Vanessa was a little disappointed but not discouraged.

Vanessa moved forward. The second year, Vanessa had about 10 girls to register for the Pageant but nearly 100 register for school supplies. Realizing she had to come through for these kids, Vanessa and her family got busy collecting supplies.  Her parents begin to go from sale to sale buying school supplies. They solicited the help of family, friends and small Businesses.  The event was held at Oceanway Community Center that year and while the Doll Pageant was not as successful as Vanessa would have liked-110 Students left with Grade appropriate School Supplies. The Summer’s Over Doll Pageant Event had now morphed into Vanessa’s School Supply Giveaway.

The event for the next two years focused on motivating activities for the attendees and blessed 125 students in year 3 and this past year 150 students with Back packs full of Back to school Supplies.

This past year Vanessa’s Back to School Giveaway had two Community Sponsors –A Touch of Elegance Full Service Salon and Impact Outreach Ministries both located at the intersection of Lem Turner and Soutel Roads Jacksonville, Florida. These sponsors made it possible to put on a Carnival type event. The event included drawings for prizes, free haircuts and hair styles, food, vendors and other activities.

While Vanessa has set aside the Doll Pageant idea for now, she is setting higher goals for serving the Parents and kids in the community through her give away that provides grade appropriate supplies unlike many of the other school Supply drives in the Community. Vanessa continues to believe that kids should” Be themselves and be the best they can possibly be regardless of circumstances.”  She further believes that she has a mission to keep them excited and serious about the opportunity of Education. This is merely one of the ways to accomplish this goal.


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