Alyssa Kyzar - Louisiana Interview by Claire Plath Nomination by Trudy Kyzar Photography by Luckett Portrait Studio Issue 26 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination:Not only is Alyssa Kyzar a 4.0 student, but she has taken on the role of SGA and Senior class president. She is active in her church youth group and has launched a youth missions committee, which she has been elected President. She has developed her own clothing line, “Thiest Threads” to help spread the word of Jesus to other teens. She was a member of FUGE SLA over the summer to become a church camp leader. She is currently enrolled in college classes while in high school.
What inspired you to design your own clothing line, and what is the meaning behind your brand? Sharing my faith openly has always been something I’ve struggled with, so I had the idea of creating apparel that would open doors to easily share my faith with others. So, I created Theist Threads. What’s that mean? We are all aware of an atheist; someone who doesn’t believe in God. A Theist is the exact opposite. I’ve realized from previous experience, something as simple as a T-shirt can serve as an amazing tool for sharing the gospel with others. The design for most of my products is unclear. I WANT people to ask “Hey, what’s your shirt mean, or what bible verse is that?” Explaining the purpose and meaning behind the design can turn into a life changing experience for another person. My saying is “let’s open doors and wear cool clothes while we do it!”
How do you choose to stay active in your faith through your youth group? Every day, I try to be a better person than I was the day before. My number one goal of each day is to always stand in the word and share encouragement. Being one of the oldest in my youth group, I try my best to set a good example to the younger ones. I try to keep special bonds and connect with each person. This summer, I created a youth missions committee to help the local community. Growing up in a small town, I learned little things can make a big impact.
Tell me a little bit about FUGE SLA and how you became involved in it. The camp I got saved at, Fuge, holds a very special place in my heart. This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to be accepted into their Student Leadership Apprentice program. It’s a two week long experience for students who want to gain hands on leadership experience in a camp environment. I was trained to be a missionary, and even got to lead bible study for other students!
How do role models like Sadie Roberston inspire you? My favorite quote by Sadie is, “My passion is to speak, to write, to encourage.” Even with her large social media platforms, she isn’t afraid to be vulnerable. She’s a loud voice to those in need of an inspiring, nonjudgmental presence in their lives. She embraces her role as a beacon of light and I strive to do the same.
How have you been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA while also being very involved in your community? I wish I could say it’s easy, but it’s not. The biggest thing is to stay motivated. Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. I’ve learned not to limit my challenges but challenge my limits.
What do you love most about helping others through your faith? Serving others has been a Christian tradition since its establishment. Jesus Himself washed the feet of others and died for us! If Jesus, our Master, gave His life in service to others, how can we expect we’ll do anything less? You’ve probably heard the words, “love your neighbor as yourself” a thousand times by now. We live in such an individualistic society it’s easy to get caught up in our own thing most of the time and not even notice the needy. When I serve others, I’m joining the Lord in his work. And gosh, it feels so good. Alyssa will be featured in Issue 26 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!
Emily Williams - Texas Interview by Larissa Chelius Nomination by Addison Schale Photography by Emily Williams, Addison Schale, & Tammy Williams Featured in Issue 16 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: Emily Williams is inspiring to me because she is hard working, patient and always has a smile on her face. At the age of 17 Emily started her own boutique from the ground up called Ellie Mae. She has put in lots of late nights, money and many phone calls to create a business she has always dreamed of. She is working every day to grow her business so she can eventually make it a full-time job & create a brand out of it. She is only a senior in high school, trying to figure out where she wants to go to college, make good grades & run a business. She always seems to amaze me with her uplifting spirit and hard work. I think that’s pretty inspiring to me:)
When did you become interested in fashion and how did it turn into running your own boutique? I have always been interested in fashion since I was a little girl. The fun clothes and accessories have always fascinated me. I really began my fashion career my freshman year of high school. I began to find inspiration in older bloggers and that would inspire the style of my outfits. I was always the odd ball out because I didn’t wear a t-shirt and shorts to school like ninety percent of the girls. I dressed up as if I was going out to a nice restaurant. That’s what I love though. Like Coco Chanel said, “The World is your runway.” Every day is a day I can style an outfit and show it off to the world. Which, in the end, is my way of expressing my personality. How fun is that, that men and women can express who they are through styling clothes in different ways? I absolutely love it.
Taking it way back, Ellie Mae (my boutique) started with me bringing it up to my mom one day. I was very nervous because it was way out there. I worked at two boutiques prior to starting my own, and I realized I wanted to do that. So long story short, my mom agreed, and my dad invested. Then, we made a logo, set up a website, bought some clothes, took pictures, set up social media, and took a shot in the dark!
How do you maintain good grades while running the boutique & do you plan on running the boutique while attending college? This is a tough one for sure. Time management is the key to this one. I organize my time and set my priorities accordingly. Yes! I do plan on running the boutique while attending college. It’s a one woman show. I take the pictures, edit pictures, do the website designs/editing, all the marketing, shipping, buying new products, everything that goes into, I do (with help from my sweet mom). Regardless, I will be able to find a way to maintain it, especially since I have a passion for my boutique and everything that goes into it.
Do you plan on expanding the boutique? Yes, I do! I have long term goals for my boutique, and short term. Overall, it is a huge learning experience. Learning time management, service to others, professional manners, financial components, maintaining consistency, and much more.
What advice would you give to others who are interested in starting their own business?
I would say two things. One, never give up. I know it’s cliché, but doubt and discouragement will creep in whether you start one or are thinking about starting one. You have to look past that and remember you are doing what you love. Two, hard work will pay off sooner or later. It took five months before I could start seeing my hard work pay off. It seems like a long time, but once you can sit down and say to yourself, “I did that”, then it was definitely worthwhile.
Emily was featured in Issue 16 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!