Okolo is working to improve downtown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Faye Okolo is a woman on the move, not only in her North Saratoga Street fashion boutique, but also in improving the downtown shopping area. Recently, she was the special guest representing Virginia at the &uot;Business Advisory Council&uot; of the Republican Party, and she took that opportunity to present a grant proposal for funding improvements in the downtown area.

Okolo served as the honorary chairman for the Commonwealth of Virginia during the special event. She received a &uot;National Leadership Award&uot; for her input and support in the GOP’s efforts to move the country, particularly tax policy and the economy, in what Majority Leader, Congressman Tom DeLay, termed the &uot;right direction.&uot;

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Okolo traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept the award and participate in meetings with member of Congress and other high-ranking officials. She also enjoyed their hospitality at several VIP dinners and other social functions.

&uot;I cannot tell you how excited I was to have been included with all this,&uot; said Okolo. &uot;It was all God. There are so many higher-ups in the city than me, and the Lord must have opened the door for me to have been selected to serve as the honorary chairman for Virginia, and especially for me to receive the leadership award. I am one of the least, but God found some favor in me and I am so humbled.&uot;

&uot;I work with Faith Works Outreach Ministry’s &uot;Community Enhancement&uot; programs, which are based on the word of God,&uot; said Okolo. &uot;We meet every Saturday at 7 p.m., and the public is invited to attend any of our forums.&uot;

As for the D.C. meeting; Okolo said she had prepared a grant proposal to present to the Republican officials. She also noted that she &uot;was blessed&uot; to come into direct contact with the person in D.C. who issues grants.

&uot;I was afforded the opportunity to sit right beside that person at the meeting so that I could tell them about our program,&uot; she said. &uot;Our grant proposal for funds to enhance the downtown Suffolk area is under review and we are waiting to hear about it.&uot;

As Okolo said, the Community Enhancement program has already begun to work in the downtown area. She would like to see the area dotted with a variety of shops including pastry shops, coffee shops and boutiques such as her own, CCU Fashions Boutique.

&uot;I believe that in a short time, it will happen,&uot; said Okolo. &uot;I believe in the downtown business district and I believe we, the merchants, can bring the people to shop downtown again if we can bring businesses that people would like to have in the area. Good restaurants, places maybe like Starbucks and some of the other deli-type stores as well as good fashion shops with wonderful items for men as well as women.&uot;

Okolo, the founder of Faith Works Outreach Ministry, is always looking for reasons to bring people out to the downtown shopping area and she’s recently come up with another unique idea.

&uot;It’s our Annual After Prom Pageant,&uot; she explained. &uot;Everyone who things they will only have one opportunity to wear their prom dress should think again! CCU Fashions Boutique and Fresh Fashions is sponsoring this special event and we are offering some wonderful prizes.&uot;

The After Prom Pageant takes place later this summer, and the deadline for registration is July 20. The &uot;Best Dressed&uot; in the pageant wins $100 cash, and the Pageant Queen will not only have her photo in the News-Herald but also wins $200. For more information on the event, or to obtain a registration form, call Okolo at 925-1175, or 925-0126.

Faith Works is located in &uot;The Upper Room,&uot; at 117 W. Washington St.