A young girl’s wish to help bring sunshine and sparkle into the lives of girls with special needs and who are hospitalized has turned into an organization that inspires others to get involved and spread love and joy with each stroke of nail polish. SayWhatNews spoke with Alanna Jai Wall, founder of Polished Girlz about her wonderful organization and how her compassion to bring joy to girls with special needs has inspired and helped others to make a difference with a little glitter, nail art and love:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Alanna. Thanks for speaking with SayWhatNews. I want to speak with you about the wonderful organization you founded, Polished Girlz. Please tell us about Polished Girlz and its mission?
Alanna:The Mission for the Polished Girlz Organization, is to polish the nails of girls with special needs and frequent hospitalizations and teach them about hand washing because hand washing saves lives. We also try to make volunteering fun and cool by using the latest nail art techniques out such as, stripes, dots free hand drawing nail stickers and glitter!
SayWhatNews: Alanna you were just 10 yrs. old when you founded Polished Girlz. What inspired you to help bring sparkle into the life of girls hospitalized and with special needs?
Alanna: My mom had a coworker whose mom was diagnosed with cancer and I wanted to bring sparkle to her life by blinging out her cancer scarves; that made me want to be creative and bling out head scarves for all girls with cancer. Since I was so young and didn’t have the experience in design and didn’t know how sensitive their heads would be, I waited until I found something that I knew was safe and could make a difference. After learning new nail techniques in Las Vegas where my Nana lived and adding my love of glitter and drawing the Polished Girlz was born.
SayWhatNews: Polished Girlz is a really cool name. How did you come up with the name?
Alanna: Once I decided to serve and how I could serve my mom and I brainstormed cool names and Polished Girlz just fit. Also because I was starting a 501c3 organization I needed a complete plan of what my mission and vision would be and the name Polished Girlz described it perfectly.
SayWhatNews: Polished Girlz goal is to bring joy into the lives of girls all over the world. Which organizations so far has Polished Girlz teamed up with and helped?
Alanna: We serve hundreds of girls every year and I have teams in Ohio, Illinois, and Rhode Island and will be starting a team in both New York and California by the end of this year. We partner with lots of different organizations and support groups including, Children’s Medical Center, the Down Syndrome Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation and Mended Little Hearts for Children with heart conditions.
We also polish at Relay for Life and the Buddy Walk, and we now serve 2 of the top 3 Ronald McDonald Houses in the Nation. On occasion we get request for private clients who may be too ill to participate in group activities or that have a terminal illness.
We are supported by many national organizations and are always looking for businesses and donors to help us with supplies financial support, and equipment. We have received donations from, OPI, Orly Beauty, Deborah Lippmann, Mystique Nails (for really cool nail art stickers), and we have a very special relationship with the Caboodle Company. They are our largest supporters and have made sure that all of our volunteers have their own Caboodle to look professional when they are carrying their supplies. I have also been very lucky to have cosmetic manufactures send me complete lab equipment to design my own polish colors and that makes me feel good that people want to help me make my own style of nail polish.
SayWhatNews: Alanna, your organization consists of girl volunteers. How many volunteers does Polished Girlz have?
Alanna: We receive request to serve as volunteers monthly and at this time have about 100 listed volunteers available.
SayWhatNews: How can other organizations team up with with Polished Girlz?
Alanna: We are very social and are on facebook at www.facebook.com/polishedgirlz, on Twitter @polishedgirlz and have a website www.polishedgirlz.org. For any organization that would like to team up with us for service, donations or volunteering, they can also email us at email@example.com
SayWhatNews: Tell us how a young girl who wants to help can join Polished Girlz and volunteer. Also what experience if any do they need to have?
Alanna: For girls that would like to volunteer all they have to do is go to the website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and fill out the volunteer application. There is also a brief orientation and hand washing test. They don’t need experience, they just need to love polishing nails and want to serve, and know that if you mess up that is ok because that is what polish remover is for!
SayWhatNews: You mentioned that donations help the program to operate and purchase supplies and equipment. How can people donate to your great cause?
Alanna: We are a 501c3 Non Profit organization so all donations a tax deductible. Anyone that would like to donate can email me and we can provide them with all of the information.
SayWhatNews: Alanna, just recently you were named ‘Do Gooder’ of the Month’ on actress/Pop singer Selena Gomez (who is the ambassador of UNICEF) charity page on her website (http://www.selenagomez.com/charity). How amazing was it to receive such praise and acknowledgement?
Alanna: That was cool! It was a surprise, because I didn’t know that I was going to be receiving that award. To have so many girls want to serve and start teams after they saw that felt great. We also met our nail guru Brian Garces because he found us on that website now he is a Minx Master nail Technician and he is going to help us by giving tips to our clients on our blog about how they can take care of their nails. He would have never found us without Selena.
SayWhatNews: That is so wonderful. Also, Polished Girlz has received many awards like receiving proclamation from the Mayor of the City of Dayton, Ohio, 2011 United Way Award Winner and many others. How does it make you feel when you are given awards for your compassion and caring heart to help others?
Alanna: It makes me feel proud that I am making a difference and that people want to help Polished Girlz. It can also feel a little weird sometimes because I do this for other girls to make them feel good, I never expected to get so much kindness from others for my good work.
SayWhatNews: Polished Girlz custom bracelets and Custom Nail polish will a featured item in this year’s 2012 Teen Choice Awards Celebrity Gift Baskets. That is so amazing. Tell us how this came to be and how excited you are?
Alanna: That is a really Huge deal for us! We had to pack over 140 kits of our Polished Girlz nail polish, bracelets and organic lip balm and it will be going to every celebrity presenter and nominee. I can’t believe that such big Celebrities will be getting things that and all of my volunteers made! Since we are the featured Charity all of the press that is about these baskets will talk about us as well. They are even donating a Celebrity gift Basket to us to auction off for Polished Girlz! Two of my Board Members are Ellen Sirot (the nations top hand model) and creator of Hand Perfection and a PR Specialist her name is Donna Cravatta and she is the owner of www.virtualmanagementconcepts.com-- they had done celebrity gift baskets promos before and Donna was able to help to introduce our organization to Lisa Gal of Hollywood Baskets. Ms Lisa was so excited about us that she asked if we would like to be included in not only this basket but others if we wanted. Lisa has been creating celebrity gift baskets since 1995 for Hollywood stars, everyone from Beyonce, to Jessica Simpson.
And the list for the Teen Choice Awards includes everyone from Nick Cannon to Justin Beiber!
SayWhatNews: The bracelets are very fashionable and cute. PG nail polish has every girl’s favorite color. Where can we fashionistas buy them?
Alanna: We love the bracelets! I really took my time to come up with a design that would work for every girl’s style and for every size wrist. I love that you can choose your own colors! The Bracelets will be available online on the Polished Girlz Website and we are also taking orders by email privately. The shop was closed briefly while we filled the order of 140 for the Teen Choice Awards but it will re open in August. We can take pre orders now by email at email@example.com and we are also partnering with different groups that want to use our bracelets in their fundraising campaigns.
SayWhatNews: What’s next for Polished Girlz and Alanna Jai Wall?
Alanna: Up next I will be featured in the Teen Vogue online website as a Girl that gives back. I hope to continue to grow my organization nationwide and serve as many girls as possible. I hope to teach teens that volunteering can be cool and that you are never too young to serve. I hope to partner with a national retail chain so that I can have my polish and bracelets in stores or have a polish manufacturer donate a portion of proceeds of a color to the Polished Girlz. I think that the Polished Girlz Organization would be really successful if we knew that we could always take of ourselves financially and only had to worry about serving our clients. I would also love to go to New York fashion week and see the trends in nails so that we are always the go to Girlz for what is new in nail art design.