An Irondequoit parish is trying to put a fashionable twist on fundraising.
St. Cecilia Parish hopes to tap the talents of high-school and college-age clothing designers for its early fall fashion show "Project Runway." Student participants would have the chance to win scholarships and the option to sell the outfit they designed and made.
The fashion show is a fundraiser for a new Mother-Child Health Clinic in Ngurdoto, Tanzania, located outside the City of Arusha, that the parish is raising funds for.
The $75,000 clinic would be built at an existing first-aid dispensary constructed by Catholic missionaries in 1981. It would offer prenatal and post-natal care and pediatric services to women and their children, since emergency care at the nearest regional hospital is an approximately 18-mile walk away, according to a project description on St. Cecilia’s Web site.
According to the project description, some of the clinic’s goals include reducing the spread of infectious disease from sick patients to newborns and unborn children; giving medical care to women delivering children; and reducing mortality rates for mothers and their children.
The parish already has organized several fundraisers for the project, including a dinner on June 1 that raised nearly $3,000, said Toni Tumminelli, a parishioner and a member of the clinic committee. According to the parish’s June 8 bulletin, St. Cecilia has raised $9,000 for the project.
The fashion show, which will take place in late August, is the brainchild of Sara Schmerbeck, youth minister, who said she was inspired by such fashion-competition television shows as "Project Runway."
"I know there are kids in town sewing stuff," said Schmerbeck, noting that the parish would raise funds by selling tickets to the fashion show.
Student participants would need to design and make a back-to-school outfit for children ages 5 to 14 and provide a child to model their creations. Schmerbeck noted that participants could sell their designs in order to recoup expenses for materials. Judging would be completed by area business owners in the design and fashion industries.
"It is a unique event," Tumminelli said. "I think it will be successful as long as we get participants who are willing to help other children."
Tumminelli’s daughter, Nicole, who also is a member of the health-clinic committee, said she is excited about the fashion show, even though the eighth-grader is not yet old enough to participate.
"I think it’s a good idea," Nicole said. "It’s a good way to help people in need."
EDITOR’S NOTE: For details on the "Project Runway" fashion show, call Sara Schmerbeck at St. Cecilia Parish at 585-467-4286, ext. 104, or e-mail email@example.com. Designs need to be submitted by July 10.