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Shivers on the sidewalkand shivers on the fashion runway
Mother Nature's chill doesn't dampen spirit of annual fundraiser
W Cassidy Stephens
Cassidy Stephens shows off her runway strut in a dress by Blush Prom during the fifth annual Fashion with Compassion at the Averitt Center for the Arts on Jan. 6.

 Perhaps Mother Nature wasn’t quite ready for a spring prom dress preview, sending snow and wintery chills to South Georgia. However, Madame Couture’s Boutique owner Maria Proctor knew the show must go on.

Despite late dress deliveries and a last-minute dress rehearsal due to the weather, Proctor succeeded in staging the fifth annual “Fashion with Compassion” Fundraiser and 2018 Prom Preview at the Averitt Center for the Arts on Jan. 6.

While the event allowed young people a chance to participate in a fashion show, proceeds from the show will benefit the 2018 Teen Reach Adventure Camp (TRAC) Statesboro, which serves children that are in foster care or at-risk youth.

In previous years, several downtown shops participated in the event. This year, Proctor had to fly solo and be in charge of all the ticket sales and promotions, beginning back in December.

The show featured 30 young models, ranging in age from elementary school to college freshmen, as well as young high school men as escorts. Proctor recruited Georgia Southern students to direct the show and act as presenters. 

“They just took command,” she bragged.

Most of the models were Madame Couture’s customers. 

“I consider (the show) my gift to the community. It allows all of these young ladies and others to participate in the process,” said Proctor.

The event was very much a family affair. Several of the models were siblings. Proud mothers beamed and cheered from the audience. Fathers also packed the theater and seemed very pleased with their door prizes of massages and yoga classes.

Proceeds from the event were down from previous years, but Proctor still considers it a success if it raises awareness for TRAC. Participants in the two three-day camps (one for boys and one for girls) in June will explore the wilderness and participate in many outdoor activities designed to help the children recognize the importance of self-respect, teamwork and communication — all while having fun at the same time.

If you want to learn more about TRAC, visit their website at

To help TRAC meet its operating expenses this year, you can donate on their website or to the TRAC account at Sea Island/SYNOVUS bank.


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