ATLANTIC CITY — Rayuana Aleyce, who won Project Runway Season 12, doesn’t take Dec. 23 for granted.
That’s the day the supermodel, born and raised in Stanley Holmes Village, returns home every year to give back to her community because it has been officially declared Rayuana Aleyce Day.
Aleyce will celebrate on Saturday by welcoming young people ages 5-17 to the Atlantic City Soldier’s Home from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to enjoy food, games, and music.
“I just try to keep this day alive because it’s such an honor to have your own day,” Aleyce said from her Brooklyn home. “Whether it's food, toys, gifts, coats, or whatever I can do in that moment, I just go down to give back because that’s just what giving is about.”
In recent years, Aleyce has funded her giving projects out-of-pocket. But this year, she is working through her charity, the Rayuana Aleyce Foundation to have a greater impact. The foundation is primarily geared toward at-risk youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system, she said.
“We want to help shape and mold them through music, art, fashion, culture and sports,” Aleyce said. “My goal is to direct them and help them express themselves through the arts.”
Pamela Fields, Aleyce’s mentor, said she is extremely proud to see her remaining dedicated to service while achieving her goals.
“It gives me such a breath of fresh air to be a part of her growth and development,” said Fields. “Words can’t express how she has been able to achieve and overcome so many obstacles. I see nothing but great things and how impactful she’ll be to the lives of many in the years to come.”
Aleyce said supporters from here to Brooklyn made contributions to make this community celebration possible. “This year, a lot of people stepped up,” Aleyce said.
Locally, the Irish Pub was a sponsor. The Brooklyn organizations that also got involved included:
- Neighborhoods in Action, Save Our Streets
- Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center; and
- Brooklyn Canarsie Lions Club
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