A fashion show for a worthy cause


Wanda Jackson, left, founder of the Dreamer's Foundation, helps Nevaeh Harden prepare for the runway during the fashion show.

ELIZABETH HAMILTON/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.

A very stylish group of children, women and men strutted the latest in fashion trends at "A Fashion Show" — all for a great cause.

Sponsored by the Dreamer's Foundation, the event helped to raise funds for "An Evening of Elegance," an annual black-tie ball to honor the intellectually disabled.

Attended by nearly 100 residents, "A Fashion Show," now in its second year, was held last Saturday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

Marye H. Langston, secretary of the Dreamer's Foundation Inc. Board of Directors, said the foundation was founded by Wanda Jackson in 2011 to provide opportunities and to serve the intellectually disabled and disadvantaged youth and adults in Alachua County. She said funding is raised through the annual fashion show and a bake sale held in November.

Langston said "An Evening of Elegance" provides an opportunity for the intellectually disabled men and women to have an evening of dining and dancing. "It's a very special event to let them know they're loved and appreciated," said Langston, "and that they can have a nice evening of elegance."

Jackson, who organized the event, said she appreciates her niece and nephew, David and Leola Harrell, who came from Fort Lauderdale, and everyone else who participated.

"I'm pleased with the turnout, but I hope in the future more people will come out," Jackson said.

There were 18 models wearing the latest in causal and evening wear, including the Distinguished Gentlemen Modeling Troupe of Fort Lauderdale, and local men, all wearing fashions provided by Harrell's Fine Fashions, owned by the Harrells. The women and girls modeled fashions from Jackson's Couture Renaissance at 914 NE 16th Ave. The girls and boys also modeled their very own fashions.

Master of ceremony duties were shared by Leola Harrell and Barry McLeod, playwright and owner of the Write Side of Me Productions.

Guerian Fort, a Gainesville pilot and motivational speaker who shared a few words of encouragement with the audience, urged those in attendance to lead a life of significance by making a difference in someone's life. "Like my mother says ‘As I pass in this world, if I can help someone, my life has not been in vain,'" said Fort. "What you have is enough to help someone."

Entertainment was provided by rapper Israel "Shorty B" Wilcox Jr. of Gainesville. The event also included door prizes and refreshments.

The event garnered high praise.

Destiny Gainey, 10, who served as one of the models, summed it up. "This is a lot of fun," she said.

"I love it," said Gainesville resident Louise Dockers. "The kids were great and I enjoyed all of it."

Gainesville resident Sharon Thomas said this was her first time at the fashion show, but she will be back next year. "It was great," Thomas said. "The kids enjoyed themselves and they were so cute. I'm coming back next year."

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