Catholic Charities Rock County Fashion Show brings smiles Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Sue Barry, Catholic Herald Correspondent   
Thursday, Oct. 08, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

catholic charities fashion show
Catholic Charities Recreation Program Director Brenda Hammon, left, receives a hug from model Lora Guyott as she serves punch after the Fashion Show. (Photo by Sue Barry)

JANESVILLE -- The models were excited as they anticipated their walk down the runway with family and friends cheering them on.

But this wasn’t an ordinary fashion show. It was the seventh annual Rock County Fashion Show for the Disabled held at KANDU Industries on Friday evening, Sept. 11.

Highlight of the year

“This is the one of the highlights of the year,” said hairstylist Penny Thomas, who has helped the models fix their hair for all seven years.

Model Donna Cavey said she loves “getting all pretty . . . and everyone is so nice.”

Catholic Charities partners with Rock County in this very successful event which promotes self-esteem and provides fun and a positive social environment for the participants.

The evening includes dinner backstage for the models while they are getting ready, pampering -- getting their hair and makeup done -- receiving roses, and lots of picture taking as they walk down the stage.

Refreshments, lots of hugs, and smiles shared with family concluded the very special evening.

Moment in the limelight

The main purpose of the event is to raise awareness of a disabled person’s intrinsic dignity while allowing the models to take pride in their abilities -- not their disabilities.

As each model walked or was escorted out onto the runway, the emcee -- KANDU’s Gary Bersell --highlighted each model’s hobbies, place of employment, favorite foods, activities, team affiliations (such as Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears), and other personal anecdotes.

The models’ individual personalities stirred up fun, laughs, and heartwarming stories as each model got their moment in the limelight.

The fashion categories included dressy, sporty, and formal wear. Door prizes were generously distributed throughout the evening.

Sponsoring businesses included Culvers, GR’s Sandwich Shop, Deo Gloria Flowers and Gifts (roses for the models), Family Video, Mac’s Pizza Shack, Subway, and others.

Successful year

According to Catholic Charities Recreation Director Brenda Hammon, “It has been a very successful year for the program. We started a youth group, with eight or 10 young people participating in events so far. We have a walking club going strong and we hired new Recreation Department Assistant Crystal Banner.”

“It is exciting and rewarding to have so many events to offer our disabled clients. We have dances every month, a group went to the Madison zoo, and we had a picnic at Sportsman Park, to name a few activities, and we will be starting a craft club this fall,” she added.

This is Hammon’s fourth Fashion Show since she has been Catholic Charities recreation director and she says, “This is the best job in the world. It enriches my life and the annual Fashion Show is a highlight for all of us who help put it on. . . . and we get to see the smiles on the faces of the models and their families.”

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