Ability Will Shine At Tenth Annual Fashion Show

Jim Littlefield-Dalmares
Your Voice Contributor

Jim Littlefield-Dalmares.

Jim Littlefield-Dalmares.

Backstage the models will be fighting off sweaty palms and racing heartbeats. The final touches to hair and make-up done, the outfits pressed and ready, the line-up set, complete with music and script to match. In many ways, the 10th Annual Kids Center Fashion Show, set to take place in Louisville next weekend, will be like any other, from New York to Paris. But instead of supermodels, this event will feature over eighty children with disabilities, who will take the spotlight and show why each of these models is “super” in his or her own way.

“It’s a chance for our kids to let their inner and outer beauty shine,” explained David Ramer, Executive Director for the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies. The show was the brainchild of a parent and therapist as they sat in the Physical Therapy gym at the Kids Center over ten years ago. “As the story goes, one of our moms and her therapist commented that we had a lot of ‘divas’ in our midst and that it might be fun to get them all together to strut their stuff,” Ramer added. Ten years later the show, which is now one of two signature fundraisers for the charity, has grown from a few dozen models to over eighty children who will walk or “roll” the runway.

Kids who sign up for the event get to go to Macy’s and pick out whatever outfit they want a few weeks before the show. Families get to keep the outfits thanks to sponsors from the community.  A biography is written on each child, so as they work the runway an announcer can describe both the fashion and the fashionista. “Christopher likes the show because he likes to be the star,” said Jennifer Head, mother of 5-year-old Christopher. “This is a chance for these kids to have their day. A lot of kids their age are playing sports and that is not his thing. But he can get up there and look cute, which is something he’s great at!” Volunteers accompany each model on stage for his or her big moment. “I love the event because of its inclusiveness,” explained Gerome Stephens, volunteer escort and Kids Center Board of Directors member. “They come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but they all have beauty to share.”

The event, which runs from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 17 at Dupont Manual High School, is open to the public and includes the show, a silent auction and refreshments. Volunteers and sponsors are still needed. Tickets are $10 at the door, $5 for kids ages 6 to 12. Proceeds from the event help the Kids Center keep its vow to never turn away a child due to finances. For more information, call Deidra May at 502.635.6397 ext. 128, or visit www.kidscenterky.org.

Jim Littlefield-Dalmares is a freelance writer and parent of a child with cerebral palsy who was in the very first Kids Center Fashion Show. Today he is the Director of Marketing and Development for the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies.