GIF Founder Gocha Hawkins with Kandi Burruss, R&B Girl Group Glamour and the program's special participants at the Center of Hope-MLK in Atlanta

Photos can be viewed/downloaded here:  http://bit.ly/1X2rl2w
Photo credit: Chris Mitchell/CME 3000
(ATLANTA) - May 2, 2016 - Over the weekend, the  Gocha Illumination Foundation (GIF)  hosted an overnight  Youth Lock-In  at the  Center of Hope-MLK  for local teenage girls ages 13-17. Over 40 girls participated in the event which featured a welcome rally with GIF founder  Gocha Hawkins , Atlanta City Councilman  Kwanza Hall Kandi Burruss, DJ Fadelf , R&B group  Glamour Johnny McCray  (Sam's Club) and  Anika Robertson  (Design Essentials); mentoring sessions on Problem-Solving, Leadership and Self-Esteem; movies, games and tons of food! During the rally, McCray announced that GIF has won a Walmart Community Grant in the amount of $1000!
A number of experts donated their time to lead the mentoring sessions including Loronda Giddens, Anthony Knight, Diva Tyler, Dr. Jennifer Fowlkes-Callins, Dr. Whitney Lankford, Dr. Tosha Rogers and Fredricka Kinlow. Additionally, Gocha's team of stylists provided press n' curls, cuts and manicures for the girls throughout the night.
The Lock-In was made possible by the generous support from sponsors Gocha Salon, Sam's Club (Store #6409, Tucker GA), V103, City of Atlanta Dept of Parks and RecreationPapa John's (Flat Shoals Crossing), Zaxby's (425 Ponce de Leon), McDonald's (526 Ponce de Leon), 135th Street Agency, Target (Edgewood),Kroger (725 Ponce de Leon), John Paul Mitchell Systems, Design Essentials and Allied Marketing.
Special thanks to Fulton County Deputy Sheriff Sergeant  Robert Grady,  Center of Hope MLK director  Nigel Murphy and A/V director Leo Soto .
The Gocha Illumination Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides charitable services to displaced teens who are victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. To learn more about GIF or to make a donation, visit www.gochailluminationfoundation.org (Tax ID # 46-329-5284).
Follow GIF on social media: @GIFoundationInc (TW), @GochaIlluminationFoundation (IG) and GochaIlluminationFoundationInc (FB).

Eager parents and their daughters showed up early for check in!

The young girls were greeted with gift bags including products from John Paul Mitchell Systems and Design Essentials

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, Gocha Hawkins, Anika Robertson (Design Essentials), Johnny McCray (Sam's Club)  

Gocha Hawkins and Kandi Burruss pose for a picture with R&B girl group Glamour after their performance  

GIF Founder Gocha Hawkins takes a moment to speak with the girls

The young girls were bursting with questions

Effective leadership qualities were just one of the topics discussed through the night

The conversation got deep as Dr. Whitney Lankford discussed problem-solving techniques

The girls also created vision boards displaying their passions and goals

Beauty makeovers were also a part of the night! 

Papa John's provided plenty of pizza for the girls

Zaxby's also kept the girls well fed throughout the night

The snack buffet was on fleek thanks to Sam's Club, Kroger, Target, McDonald's and various food sponsors.

GIF's inaugural Youth Lock-In was a huge success!


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Gocha Hawkins (pronounced "go-shay") is an award-winning hairstylist and owner of Gocha Salon, an Atlanta-based salon specializing in precision cuts, color, extensions and make up applications. A native of Detroit, MI, Gocha has over 20 years of experience in the beauty business with 19 of those years spent as a salon owner. She received her cosmetology training at John M. Patterson State Technical College (now Trenholm State) in Montgomery, AL. She's worked with celebrities such as Serena Williams, Beyonce, Keyshia Cole, Christina Milian, Kandi Burruss, Vivica Fox, Drake, Ja Rule, Pitbull, Mike Epps, Lil' Jon, The Game, R. Kelly, T.I., Kelly Rowland and many more. Her work has been featured in Sophisticate's Black Hair, Style Q, Smooth Magazine and on the covers of Hot Atlanta, Salon Profiles, Salon Sense and Black Passions


Additionally, Gocha has over 10 years of experience in image consulting for the NBA. She has worked for the Orlando Magic cheerleaders, the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks dancers as a key hairstylist. She has also earned credits for work done on the sets of H&M and McDonalds commercials, a short film (Fit Arcade Gone Wild) and TV shows such as "Real Housewives of Atlanta" (Bravo), "La La's Full Court Life" (VH1) and "Kandi's Wedding" (Bravo). In 2013, she launched Wrecklez (pronounced "reckless"), a line of styling products designed for at-home hair maintenance. 


For more information, visit www.gochasalon.com. For press inquiries, email saptosa@gmail.com. 

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