Fashion with a purpose

Fashion Passion raises funds for children with special needs

Written by Angela Kessler, Rainbows United

On Nov. 18, a dedicated and determined group of volunteers will be celebrating 12 years of fashion with a purpose at Fashion Passion, Rainbows' signature fundraising event.

Friends of the Heart was founded to enrich the lives of the children and families served by Rainbows through volunteerism, friend raising and fundraising. The organization fosters community support for Rainbows by increasing public awareness through special events and volunteer projects. Fashion Passion is organized by Friends of the Heart.

“Friends of the Heart is a passionate group of women with great big hearts and a lot of focused energy,” said Deb Voth, President of Rainbows United, the local nonprofit that serves children with special needs, birth through age 21, and their families. “They work year round to make sure that local children and youth continue to receive services like speech therapy, physical therapy, audiology, vision services, summer camp and case management.”

In 2005 they started the first Fashion Passion event, which raised more than $16,000. Since then, Fashion Passion has grown into the biggest fundraising night for Rainbows United. This year’s event goal is to raise $320,000.

Fashion Passion is one of Wichita’s hottest events. This dynamic night features live music, dinner, cocktails, an auction like no other and a high-energy runway show. Wichita’s latest fash- ions are represented on the runway, thanks to Bradley Fair and professional runway models from Models and Images.

The presenting sponsors for the event are Bradley Fair, Cox Communications and Mid-America Orthopedics. More than 650 attendees enjoy this locally renowned event, and it’s all done to sup- port children with special needs — because helping children is always in!

All proceeds from Fashion Passion benefit the 3,500 children with special needs served by Rainbows in Sedgwick and Butler counties.

Emma is one of those children. Emma is a sweet, smiling two-year-old who receives services from Rainbows. Emma has profound hearing loss and had Cochlear Implants placed at 15 and 18 months. Through Rainbows’ services with a speech-language pathologist, Emma is learning sign language.

"I’ve been able to communicate a lot more with her thanks to the help of Rainbows,” said Jamie, Emma’s mother.

Rainbows United was founded in 1972 as a grassroots effort to meet the needs of children with disabilities who were denied entry to public schools. The agency has always been responsive to community needs.

Today the agency serves individuals from birth to age 21 in Sedgwick and Butler counties in Kansas. Rainbows has grown with the needs of the community it serves and has established itself as an unparalleled advocate for children with disabilities and a leader in prevention and early intervention for children of all ages and varying ranges of needs.

For more information about Rainbows United call (316) 267-KIDS.

Fashion Passion

6:30 p.m., Nov. 18
Textron Aviation Activity Center

Honorary Chairs
George and Jocelyne Laham

2016 Event Chairs
Pat and Sylvia Do

This Year's Fabulous Planning Committee
Dawn Alldritt
Steve and Cathy Butcher
Diane Cottingham
Jana Day
Sue Doonan
Heather Feist
Stephanie Galichia
Jackie Haydock
Bonnie Bing Honeyman
Aharon Hoopes
Nancy Jabara
Kimberly Joachims
Val Learned
Cindy Rodman
LewJene Schneider
Margaret Shook
Jo Walters

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