Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dress For Success Fashion Show and Luncheon

What fashions will the well-dressed soon be wearing in the workplace? Well, if you attended the recent Dress for Success Fashion Show and Luncheon, at Liberty High School, in Brentwood, you would know. More than 150 attendees got a glimpse of what our Community Based Instruction (CBI) students will soon be dressed in when they go to their jobs or job interviews. 

Now in its 8th year, the annual fashion show and luncheon was created to thank all the participating businesses, schools, and community organizations, that support CBI programs, and to increase the awareness in the community of our students' abilities and potential as excellent employees.

CBI is a class for students with severe disabilities, ages 18-22 years old. The goal of this program is to facilitate the transition from K-12 school to adult life. Curriculum and transition strategies include: independent living skills, social skills, recreation/leisure opportunities, employment training, mobility training, economics/money management, community awareness and services, and volunteerism. 

This year, seven East County CBI classes took part in the soireƩ. These classes are led by teachers: Sue Madole, James Koch, Julie Duncan, Gary Wickman, Debbie Ross, Alona Saturnino, and Sue Kent. Also helping the teachers with the production details were the CBI administrators and the staff from the Workability Program, while the students starred as the runway models or the very capable luncheon servers. 

The program kicked off with the CBI student servers (above, white shirts) professionally maneuvering the food carts from the kitchen into the dining area, and then serving every attendee their delicious lunch. This was followed by a special welcome by Diane Misasi, principle of student programs, and Sue Madole, CBI instructor. Madole told the crowd: "We are so grateful for our community business partners! Thanks to these wonderful people, our students have real-life-work experience they need when they go out on their own to find employment!"

The fashion show started when the very capable co-emcees Liz Wilson-Palmer and Janet Brown (at left) took control at the podium, and began introducing the models, giving full descriptions of what they were wearing. The models strode along the runway that circled around the crowded tables, which were filled with CBI student sponsors, families, and friends. During their walks, the models would stop to pose for the numerous photographers or to hug someone they knew in the audience, as the crowd cheered and clapped loudly. 

CBI student, Joseph (left), proudly sported a brand new three-piece blue suit—he was very excited about being one of the stars of the event. Prior to the action, Joseph talked about his CBI employment-training history, working with ROP's Restaurant and Hotel programs, which has taken him to work at the nearby Holiday Inn, Red Lion, and Crown Plaza hotels. And now, when he gets home, he cooks dinner for his family. Like the other 23 models, Joseph's outfit was generously supplied by Kohls department store of Brentwood. A few days before the fashion show, the models were invited to visit the store and pick out their outfits for the runway.

After the last model made her way down the runway, the entire group returned for an encore, proudly displaying their brand new outfits, with plenty loud appreciation from the audience! 

The event concluded with all seven CBI teachers individually stepping behind the microphone and giving special acknowledgments and gifts to the 31 recognized employers of their CBI students.

Special thanks to the following CBI employers and volunteer organizations:

• ACE Hardware - Brentwood • ACE Hardware - Pittsburg • Aladino's Pizza • Amanda Krause • Antioch Covenant Church • Antioch Senior Center • Asahi Nursery • Baskin Robbins • Brentwood County Library • CAPS Bar & Grill • City of Brentwood Park and Recreation • CVS Pharmacy • Delta Informal Gardeners • Delta Park Athletic Club • Dollar Tree • Domino's Pizza - Brentwood • Domino's Pizza - Pittsburg • Friends of Marsh Creek • Houston Orchard • Krey Elementary School • Liberty Union High School Cafeteria • Marshall's • Network of Care • Pittsburg Senior Center • Salvation Army Church • St. Vincent de Paul Society • Straw Hat Pizza • Sutter Elementary • Sweeney's Bar & Grill • Togo's - Antioch • Togo's - Brentwood • Turner Elementary • Willy's Bagels & Blends