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Fashion Show Focuses on Spring

The board room at Communitas Supportive Care Society was buzzing with anticipation as the audience waited for the Choices and Connections (CAC) fashion show to begin. The catwalk was bordered by yellow forsythia, furry pussy willows, pink, blue and green paper flowers and lit with white lights in keeping with the spring fashion theme. Back stage, the models checked their hair and makeup and straightened their ties and collars one more time before getting ready to hit the catwalk to show off their spring fashions.

“This is our first fashion show, so we’re pretty nervous and excited,” said Claudette Iverson, the program manager for CAC.

Choices and Connections is an activity day program that helps the people it serves develop meaningful relationships with their peers. It provides participants with a variety of activity options, including recreational and volunteering opportunities. It is one of the longest running Communitas programs.

Every month, participants fill out a questionnaire that gives them an opportunity to suggest the kinds of activities they’d like to try. They go out to eat, ride the bus, or visit places like Castle Fun Park. But this was the first time someone had suggested doing a fashion show.

“It’s extra exciting because the person who suggested it is a quiet young lady who rarely speaks up,” Claudette explained.

The idea seemed like an enormous challenge at first but the more they discussed it and the more excited staff and participants got, Claudette realized it might actually be possible. Before she knew it, the board room was booked and they were planning details. CAC staff member, Irma agreed to do make-up and Claudette’s sisters, Dolly and Lucille, agreed to do everyone’s hair. Participants helped paint rocks and make tissue paper flowers to decorate the catwalk. Everyone spent time practicing their poses and smiles. Claudette marvels at the degree to which everyone seems to have embraced the idea.

“Even the reserved, shy people got involved with the support of their peers,” she said. “It’s very exciting to see that when people need support, their friends step up to the task.”

The fashion show began with each of 17 models strutting their stuff on the catwalk. Their fashion choices ranged from summer-ready casual outfits to formal dresses or suits and ties. Each outfit reflected the personality of the person wearing it. They posed for the cameras and waved to friends and family. The audience responded with oohs and aahs, applause and waves.

Amanda, who wore a pink blouse, cream coloured floral blazer, and black skirt thanked Irma for helping her choose her spring themed outfit.

“I feel beautiful,” she said.

Jonathan, who wore a colourful Hawaiian shirt and brown pants, said he felt a little nervous but in the end he thought the whole event was awesome. He praised Claudette for her announcing skills and also acknowledged the help that everyone received from staff.

“We have the very best staff at CAC,” he said.

The show ended with all the models coming out onto the catwalk for a final wave and was followed by refreshments of mini-cupcakes and punch served in fancy glasses. Claudette and her staff team were clearly thrilled with the event.

“This was beautiful and rewarding and reminds me why I love doing this,” Claudette said.

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