Cincinnati non-profit helping transitioning teens find their style
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Cincinnati non-profit is helping to transform lives by providing transgender youth a safe space to shop free of charge for a wardrobe that reflects their personality.
Ella Dastillung was a 17-year-old high school senior when she helped start the non-profit Transform Cincy with her mother and friend Tristan Vaught.
Three years later, Dastillung has helped grow Transform Cincy to the point where it has gained national attention with celebrities donating to the cause.
Every client who walks through the door of Transform Cincy is greeted with a rack of clothes hand selected by Dastillung and volunteers helping transitioning teens in the LGBTQ+ community start a new wardrobe.
Those interested start by filling out a questionnaire online to help identify their personal style then the magic happens.
Special personalized pieces are then pulled aside for the client to try on and take home.
Dastillung says the curated shopping experience has been life-changing for many.
“I think a lot of times we think of like makeover scenes and movies and we kind of expect it to be like this big thing; like her hair has totally changed or like something big happens,” Dastillung explained. “But for a lot of people, I just noticed their facial expressions. When they’re wearing something that really suits them, it completely changes. They finally feel like comfortable in their body sometimes if they can wear the right thing and feel like they’re being seen in the world as they want to be seen.”
The vision for the non-profit began with Dastillung’s mother, Nancy Dawson, who was inspired by her transgender daughter. Dawson passed away from breast cancer two years ago, but the work continues by keeping her legacy alive.
Together, Nancy, Dastillung, and Vaught brought the vision to life opening the space which now sits on W. McMicken Avenue.
Dastillung says Transform Cincy is something that is needed everywhere.
She wants to see the non-profit grow so that people across the country can have the same experience.
This story is part of a weekly segment called Breaking Through.
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