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Amity Foundation’s Annual Fashion Show is proof that whatever you think of it, a great deal of good can come from the fun that is fashion. The style viewing experience took place on May 10th and showcased inspired options from local boutiques beneath a canopy of chandeliers at the Oak Park Country Club.
If you’ve not heard of it, Amity School Children’s Aid Foundation is a local organization dedicated to helping public school children in Oak Park and River Forest. The assistance often takes the form of eyeglasses, hearing aids, shoes, winter coats, and other essentials.
At times life takes an unexpected turn, and families struggle to pay for items that are not only necessary, but vital for their children.
As a former educator, it pained me to see students squint across the room or show up with broken eyeglasses – sometimes one lens was missing, other times an entire arm was absent. It was a formidable obstacle in a child reaching their full potential.
And then there were the students who lacked the cold-weather gear needed to stay warm and to stay dry. They’d outgrown coats, lost gloves, or sometimes attempted to layer sweatshirts in an effort to beat the cold.
For over seventy-five years Amity has faithfully assisted school children in Oak Park and River Forest in acquiring these costly items.
The children’s nonprofit raises money through yearly benefits including an annual fashion show. This year the apparel of Oak Park’s very own Takara, Muse, and Sugarcup Trading was featured amidst a sea of remarkably stylish attendees.
Myra Price is the President of Amity Children’s Aid Foundation; she is the tireless worker who, along with Amity’s board members, has dedicated herself to the mission of the foundation. Myra welcomed all those in attendance and shared, “While I appreciate lovely things, I don’t believe in defining myself by them. What I believe is that to give is to receive.”
Price introduced esteemed keynote speaker, Merri Dee, the renowned philanthropist and television journalist who retired after thirty-eight years as a reporter and director of community relations at Chicago’s WGN-TV.
Merri Dee delivered a rousing speech in which she encouraged the women present to believe in their ability to affect change: “I am all that I believe I am in my head. I give myself credit for that which I have accomplished. What I have done, I have done on my own terms. And I say thank you a lot.”
All were heartened when Dee reminded us that we each have the ability to support each other in our own corner of the world. She spoke of the children and families who are impacted by Amity, sharing, “The items this organization helps to provide are small, but vital: they are a necessity, not a luxury.”
With this, Dee introduced the recipients of Amity’s first Outstanding Citizen Award, Catherine Adduci and Michele Moore, each of whom was impeccably dressed.
It was then that I noticed that both women were cloaked identically.
But you needn’t wonder who wore it best? Know that Michele wore a vibrant green frock with a full skirt and Cathy was clad in a crisp, tailored white suit, but it was hard to tell them apart for the following reason: While their outer person is discernable by the obvious - chic apparel, lovely coifs, and attractive features - it is hard to distinguish the two when learning of their inner grace.
Cathy and Michele are equally committed to improving life’s station for those who find themselves in precarious financial circumstances. Both possess something that can’t be plucked off of a runway, nor put on in the morning and taken off at night. Each conceives of a better today for our children.
And on this particular day, fashion was the vehicle by which Cathy, Michelle, and the women of Amity Foundation would raise funds to aid as many children as possible.
Models donned contemporary designs with feminine appeal, intense blasts of color, and featherweight fabrics perfect for the impending summer that promises to be a sultry one.
An array of sleek and simple styles, smart separates, and sexy and sporty dresses hit the catwalk. Bold designs were intermingled with breezy summer pieces for daytime or nighttime, perfect for work or play.
In this fashion fundraiser, I do believe that the ladies at Amity have perfectly fused work and play.
To learn more about Amity’s work or to make a donation, call 708.383.9165.
For a preview of the designs featured on the catwalk, see photo gallery. For more info on apparel and boutiques' hours of operation, visit OakPark.com's Shopping Guide.