The Valparaiso Family YMCA never fails to discover unique ways to celebrate their community, proving that they are more than just a fitness center. Fashion and fundraising united at the 2018 "Fashion Forward" Style Show. The runway showcased 38 models, most of were YMCA staff members. The team’s creative outreach into the region brought resources such as small businesses, insurance companies, clothing boutiques, and even gas stations together, all in order to fulfill their obligation to the community.
All proceeds from the Style Show benefited the Valparaiso Family YMCA’s Annual Campaign, which supports children and adults within the area who are in need.
Michelle Richter, a group fitness instructor at the Valparaiso YMCA, was also a model in the show. She expressed an invigorating passion for her position.
“I love working at the Y!” Richter said. “I love the fact that the Y is so centered on giving back. It’s all about how you treat your participants, and how we outreach to them.”
Richter expressed how wonderful her fellow staff members are in all areas.
“I just love the fact that anybody who’s affiliated with the YMCA is trained, and then re-trained, and then re-certified,” Richter said. “We are always doing more.”
Deb Koeppen, V.P. Chief Development Officer, spoke highly about the event’s sponsors.
“Our presenting sponsor for us tonight is St. Mary Medical Center; we are so thankful to have them,” Koeppen said. “We also have table sponsors such as Family Express, Teachers Credit Union, and so many others that just want to be a part of the cause.”
The event had a designer purse raffle and a silent auction that included gift baskets, mystery boxes, and items specifically from businesses around the area.
All of the clothing was provided by local boutiques, such as Beyond Pink, Extra Mile Fitness Company, Judee’s Boutique of La Porte, Coash Clothing Co., and Edie Boutique.
Mary Nordstrom and her mother attended the event, continuing their ongoing advocacy for the YMCA.
“I’ve been going to the Y ever since I was a little girl,” Nordstrom said. “My family members have been long time supporters. This kind of event is just fun. We like to get together, shop, talk, and donate to a good cause.”
Robert Wanek, the Chief Executive Officer at the Valparaiso Family YMCA, will be celebrating his 18th year on the YMCA board this upcoming week.
“A lot of our events are volunteer-driven,” Wanek said. “There are over 400 volunteers—they outnumber our staff. They have ideas about the things they want to do. When they are excited about those ideas, we like to help make that happen.”
Tracey Mcelree, Senior Director of Advancement, explained why they continue to spice up the fashion of fundraising.
“It’s something different to bring various groups from the community together for one cause,” Mcelree said. “We are making a difference. At the Y, we are one big family, and part of that family is everyone we serve, as well.”
If you are interested in more details about the Annual Campaign, or the unique flavor that the Valparaiso YMCA brings to the community, please visit https://www.valpoymca.org/.
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