Allyson Ahlstrom is an exceptional girl. The 16 year old of Santa Rosa, California not only owns her own teen clothing boutique in Windsor California, but the clothes she stocks are free to underprivileged teen girls aged 13 to 17. In her own words. Allyson states the motivation behind her store Threads for Teens, “I started Threads for Teens to boost self-esteem, give girls hope for the future and give them clothes they will love and cherish.”
The concept for the store is simple. Girls visit the store by appointment only, after being referred by social workers. On average, each girl receives two tops, two bottoms, a dress (formal or casual), one pair of shoes, sunglasses, a necklace, purse, bracelet and a selection of other small accessories. In order to make the girls feel like they are really out shopping, Allyson has made sure that the space is set up to look exactly like a real store and plans to continue developing the store's aesthetic through funding.
Allyson’s dedicated and inspirational work caught the eye of SIA’s Founder Region, and was nominated her for the Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award. The award recognises girls aged 14 to 17 who work to better their communities and the world. Allyson has moved through the various stages of the awards, eventually becoming the 2011 federation finalist and earning herself $1,500 and $3,750 for Threads for Teens in prize money.
Accolades continue to pour in for Allyson. Threads for Teens is was nominated for a StayClassy Award in the Best New Charity section earlier this year and she has continued to develop new initiatives for her charity such as a Back-to-School Backpack giveaway in August 2011.
The mission statement on Allyson’s website sums it up, “If everyone does a little no one has to do a lot. If we can just brighten the day and lives of a few girls, we change it for all the disadvantaged girls by spreading the word...We are the future leaders of the world. If we can give each other confidence, nothing can stop us. No mountain is too high, no forests are too thick, no oceans too vast from giving girls everywhere the opportunity to succeed.”
Girl Museum Inc.