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Style for Change

First photo: Fight The New Drug \\ Stop the Demand Tee

Her name is Khue Do or I guess you can refer to her as “Grand Master Khue” now. It’s pronounced Quay if you were struggling with that one. A 23 year old recent Master’s in Social Work grad at Arizona State University who loves donuts. (disclaimer: she loved them before they became trendy !) My friend who I met before I even started this thing and was thinking about it. Anyway, so I’m here now and glad to finally tell her story. Before I even started my blog I felt hesitant because I didn’t what it to be centered around me like most blogs out there but about the things that sparked my inspiration. Overtime, I’ve found that telling stories of individual’s I’ve met or wanted to get to know more that inspire me was the best medicine for me to reflect, inspire, and motivate me to keep going after what I believe in – my dreams. So, here is a dream maker who I’ve connect with who loves fashion too but in a different way – blending her interest in fashion and using her powers to make a change.

After her roller coaster life and Gossip Girl binge on Netflix she is ready to conquer the world and is excited to start this next chapter in her life, she says. Back in high school, her dream was to go to fashion school.  She thought she would end up going to FIDM or something (Lauren Conrad was her idol, okay she still is). However, that obviously didn’t happen. Because a forever passion of hers will always be people and helping others, hence her degrees. She never ever thought in a trillion years that the two worlds would end up colliding, but here we are. So, my curious self decided to dig deeper and learn more about her current projects she’s working on called Soteria (so-tay-ree’-ah) that she is glad to share with me!

Tell me about your charity & what it represents

Soteria in the Greek means: Deliverance, Preservation, and Safety. So rad, huh ?! That’s what I want Soteria to be, a safe haven to all those who work, support, and believe in our mission.  My dream for Soteria is that it would help provide employment and job training for people who have been abused and/ or exploited.  I am firm believer in this:  that every person has a story. We’ve all made mistakes, we’ve all have been hurt. However, we do not have to be defined by the things we have done or by the things that have been done to us.

I wouldn’t say that Soteria is a charity, it’s more of a social enterprise. Your purchases are bought with a purpose, for a purpose. You are investing in an individual and their craft. You help create a purpose and a paycheck, but ultimately, you are helping break the cycle of violence and exploitation. That is POWERFUL. And in return, you get an awesome piece of jewelry that can be used to raise awareness on the realities of human trafficking. Everyone wins.

SNEAK PEAK Pennies \\ Soteria, keep your eyes out this summer for the website & the launch of the line

What do you hope to achieve through this cause?

It is really quite simple. Soteria aims to empower, equip, and restore (I couldn’t of another “e” word). I think back to when I was 17, dreaming about being the next Lauren Conrad (but Asian). My parents HIGHLY suggested me to get a job. I’d never worked a day in my life.  I had no skills, no training, no work history. The hiring process was brutal for me. I basically only qualified to work at retail jobs or in the food industry. And now with my Master’s degree, it’s still just as hard for me to find a job. It is tough out there. So imagine what it’s like for someone who has a lot more going against them. At Soteria, we get it and we strive to:

  • promote economic independence and self-worth for survivors of violence and exploitation through job employment and skills training.
  • Engage in community awareness of local issues of sex trafficking to promote social justice
  • Collaborate with other advocates to eliminate sexual exploitation and trafficking through prevention, education, and awareness opportunities

What was your inspiration behind this project?

I was sitting in one of my social work classes last spring, watching a documentary (this is what my tuition paid for apparently). I normally would have been furious that I showed up to class, just to watch a movie. But this documentary changed my life. Okay, that was a little dramatic. But it definitely did shift my way of thinking and challenged me to dream a little bigger. The wheels were beginning to turn and the burden on my heart was heavy.  This life-altering documentary was on a man named Father Greg. He’s amazingly brilliant. He is the mastermind behind Homeboy Industries. If you haven’t heard about it, stop reading right now and go check it out ! http://www.homeboyindustries.org. Did you do it ? Homeboy Industries serves high-risk, formally gang-invovled men and women with a continuum of free services (like tattoo removal ! ) and programs, and operates several social enterprises that serves as job-training sites. I just got goosebumps typing that. Next time you’re in L.A. you should totally go check them out, eat at one of their restaurants ! Shoot I even think Homegirl Cafe is in L.A.X. now, you really have no excuse not to.

Lastly, what do you like about fashion?

I like that fashion is very personal and individualized. It celebrates a person and their unique tastes and styles. I don’t care what the fashion police say, there’s no way a person can get fashion “wrong”. It’s a preference. Fashion is expressive, it’s daring and simple all at the same time. It can be constantly evolving and yet constantly consistent. Plainly stated, fashion is fun and I will never get tired of playing dress up !

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