Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Fashioning a fundraiser

Models line up backstage before the start of the Sisters on the Runway 2008 fashion show at the Montclair Art Museum.
Who: Gabriela Graham, Juliana Colangelo and Elizabeth Eddy, students at Montclair High School.
What: Founders of Sisters on the Runway club at the high school.
Mission: To raise funds for Shelter Our Sisters, a Bergen County nonprofit organization that helps victims of domestic violence.
Background: More than 300 people attended the third annual fashion show fund-raiser on April 4 at the Montclair Art Museum to raise funds for Shelter Our Sisters.
The event is the brainchild of Juliana Colangelo, Gabriela Graham and Elizabeth Eddy, Montclair High School seniors.
"We came up with the idea for the fashion show as a way to appeal to all age groups and get the community involved. Montclair is filled with beautiful boutiques and very talented hairstylists and makeup artists. By having this fashion show and silent auction we can include the entire communities plethora of shops and restaurants as well as raise money for a good cause,'' said Eddy, 17.
Liz Eddy, right, Gaby Graham, center, and Juliana Colangelo, left, (back to camera) get ready for the Sisters on the Runway 2008 fashion show.
"Boutiques in Montclair such as Kawayan, Coco, an Experience, Inc., Barbara Eclectic, Cisco Station, Ruby, Hip Chic, and Culture Couture loan us dozens of fashions for the models to wear. We also showcase fashions designed and made by Montclair High School students,'' said Colangelo, 18.
Money was raised through ticket sales, a silent auction and raffle items donated by Montclair businesses.
Tickets were $10 for students; $15 for adults. Approximately $10,000 was raised at this year's event, and about $14,000 at previous fashion shows. The entire proceeds benefit Shelter Our Sisters.
The teenagers learned about the nonprofit while enrolled in the Civics and Government Institutes community service program at the high school.
"We wanted to do something that would increase awareness of domestic violence in our community, since it is so infrequently spoken about,'' Eddy said.
"We began to search for shelters and came across Shelter Our Sisters. They immediately responded to us and brought us into their family. We have since visited monthly, spending time with the children and helping organize their home,'' 18-year-old Graham added.
Shelter staff members Suzanne Dandie, left, Amanda Bachther and Jacquie Kohlberger debate if some clothing would be the right size for a gift for a child.
After coordinating the fashion show themselves the first time around, the teenagers enlisted help. In October 2007, they created the Sisters on the Runway club. They now have more than 80 members who help run the school-wide modeling audition, plan the event, gather sponsorships, visit the shelter, sell T-shirts and more.
"From this experience we have created a close bond with the shelter that we hope to maintain for the rest of our lives,'' Colangelo said.


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