Enjoying fashion, drinks and beautiful scenery is a great way to spend a Saturday morning, but it is even better doing it for a good cause.
"Over the years we've done a number of different things for our yearly fundraiser," said Diana Shaw, past president and current member of the East Valley Women's League. "For the last few years our fundraiser was a derby day and golf tournament. That was fun but once you put an event like that on year after year it kind of gets stale and we wanted to kind of shake it up so we could increase participation. This is a woman's organization; it makes sense for us to do a fashion show."
The fashion show, scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 9 at the Arizona Grand Resort, 8000 S. Arizona Grand Parkway, will raise money for all of the charities that the group puts on throughout the year. Among those are the Package of Success where they fill backpacks with supplies for children in need, and the Cinderella Affair which is a community project that provides free prom dresses for teenage girls.
The group has also given more than $100,000 in scholarships funds through the Arizona State University Foundation and the Maricopa Community College Foundation.
Their new "Anything is Possible" scholarship will be awarded to Wing Lam, a Desert Vista High School student, at the event.
"This program we expect to grow as we move forward," Shaw said. "This year we had an awesome partner who matched our $2,000 grant so it became a $4,000 scholarship for our young lady who deserved it."
Lam qualified for the scholarship by having a GPA higher than 2.5, having a financial need and demonstrating a commitment to her community through her volunteer work at Foothills Family Medicine and Project Cure. Lam plans to get a degree in nursing and move on to medical school to become a surgeon.
Organizers of the event hope it will be an inspiring afternoon.
"We really wanted to make it different from other fashion show fundraisers," said Angie Thornton, president of EVWL. "We use a lot of mom and pop boutiques and small businesses for our clothing. We're not using professional models. We wanted to use women and children in our community who have stories that could be inspiring."
Some of the models will include Druanne Letter, who started Water Watchers after the drowning of her 3-year-old son; Candice Nagel, owner of Aunt Chilada's and Rustlers Rooste; and Capt. Kimberly Smith, the first female Marine to lead a battalion into Afghanistan.
Clothes featured will come from places like On the Corner, Essenza and The Purple Skirt.
The event will also be filled with a raffle and silent and live auctions with prizes like tickets to "Jimmy Kimmel Live," an autographed Toby Keith guitar, behind the scenes with the Suns and a luxury weekend at the Arizona Grand Resort.
"We tried to theme our silent auction to be like a Father's Day or Mother's Day, graduation for high school and college, and Easter because those are the things that are following our event," Thornton said. "I think we did a great job of that."
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