Growing strong women

Cincinnati’s Asha Ama is a strong and successful woman. She is often seen around town at formal wear and bridal departments, and is considered a trusted source as she is a Project RunWay All Star and has also been on Project Runway Under the Gunn. Ama also is a graduate of St. Ursula Academy and graduated from University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP) in 2013.


And on Saturday, November 10, she’ll be a finalist judge at the inaugural event Launch the Line, which raises funds for Cincinnati Union Bethel (CUB).


Combine Ama’s involvement with Channel 12’s Elaine Kong as the emcee — along with a host of celebrity models and designers — and this promises to be a fun, uplifting event.


CUB is the region’s oldest social service organization. This fundraising event is designed to reach across all age groups and interests with an evening of fashion inspired by the concept of what it means to be a strong woman.


“Launch the Line was inspired by the graduates of our award-winning Off the Streets program that partners with survivors of the traumas of human trafficking and drug addiction on their road to recovery,” says President and CEO Beth Schwartz. “They dream of creating a line of Strong Woman branded clothing and this special event will be the first step in making their dream a reality.”


“CUB’s programs each tackle different faces of poverty and injustice in our city,” she continues. “While working toward distinct results, our programs are united in their goal to bring about long-term and transformative changes in the lives of vulnerable community members.”


Off the Streets

Off the Streets creates sustainable pathways toward safety, recovery, empowerment, and community reintegration for women who have been involved in trafficking, prostitution, and substance abuse. The program takes a trauma-informed care approach to provide continuing therapy, structure, and accountability during the transition back into everyday life.


Early Learning Academies

The Early Care and Childhood Education Program prepares some of the city’s most vulnerable 3–5-year olds for kindergarten. They provide a rich variety of activities that foster the intellectual, physical, mental, emotional, and social development of each child, while also supporting the family. All four locations have received Step Up to Quality’s highest rating of 5 stars.


Anna Louise Inn

The Anna Louise Inn was established in 1909 as a residence for single women who were moving from rural areas to work in Cincinnati. Today, it provides safe and affordable housing for women at risk of homelessness. Social, emotional, and educational programming and supportive services are offered to help residents achieve greater stability and self-sufficiency.


The Cincinnati Scholar House

Cincinnati Scholar House will end the cycle of poverty two generations at a time, by empowering families to succeed in education and job readiness, thereby promoting life-long self-sufficiency. This unique program combines two of CUB’s core competencies — affordable housing and early childhood education — in one comprehensive program.


Coming soon to Walnut Hills, this 44-unit apartment community is designed to provide a stable living and learning environment for low-income single parents and their dependent children. This allows the parent to attend post-secondary classes that will lead to full-time sustainable employment.


“The impact of our services reaches over 600 families each year, and we are focused on the biggest issues our Greater Cincinnati community faces — poverty, addiction, and school readiness,” says Schwartz. “This event is an opportunity for people to have a unique and fun evening out while at the same time learning more about and supporting CUB’s life-changing work.”


Seven fashion designers will be matched in teams with a graduate from one of the CUB programs and a local celebrity model. Models include Cynthia Booth, Pam Kravetz, Ryan Messer, Jimmy Musuraca, Mary Wineberg Oly, Molly Wellmann, and Kim Wright.


Each designer will create a “Strong Woman” branded collection inspired by the graduate’s vision, and the grand prize winner will be selected at the event. The designers are Jeff Bartlett, Michelle Bartlett, Julia Bond, Nicole Chambers, Marcie Hon, Mallory Muddiman, and Maddie Mullikin


“Our objective is to raise awareness about the important work of CUB, to raise lots of financial support to invest in our services, and to offer a night of spectacular fun and creative fashion design to the community,” says Schwartz. “Our hope is that we might be able to literally launch a Strong Woman branded line of merchandise based on the work of the winning designer.”


Launch the Line, a fashion collection inspired by strong women, takes place on Saturday, November 10 at 7 p.m. in Lunken Airport Hangar 2, 4510 Airport Rd., Cincinnati, 45226. Live music and food are included. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased here, and online voting also is available.

Read more articles by Jennifer Mooney.

Jennifer Mooney is a reformed corporate communications senior executive. She has also worked in the advertising industry and founded The Mooney Group, LLC, a boutique public relations practice. She is an avid adventurer and traveler, which includes climbing/hiking, open water swimming, and downhill skiing. She is a downtown resident and is married to Donald Mooney. She has two grown daughters.

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