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Fantastic Friends of WNY to hold annual special needs fashion show


Wed, Nov 13th 2019 04:35 pm

Goal to raise acceptance of special needs and support new social center

Fantastic Friends of WNY Inc. will hold its second annual “Fantastic Friends Rock the Runway” fashion show, which includes a live and silent auction at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15. This is a unique, interactive event with a goal of educating the community on individuals with special needs while raising needed funds for an area nonprofit.

The event will showcase special needs individuals of all ages and abilities posing as runway models – each will be escorted by “buddies!”

“Our first annual fashion show was such a success that we are thrilled to carry on a new tradition this year with our second annual event as we look forward to opening a new social center next month,” said Debbie Cordone, director of Fantastic Friends of WNY. “Seeing our special models walk the runway with such confidence makes our mission complete. We are so thankful for all of our supporters.”

This year’s show is to support the expansion of programming and a larger center opening Dec. 1 at 1288 French Road, Cheektowaga.

Fantastic Friends of WNY is an all-volunteer organization for special needs individuals of all ages whose mission statement is to provide a safe, comfortable environment for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities of all ages. “A place of acceptance and understanding without judgment.”

Special needs individuals receive 1:1 assistance from a trained, volunteer “buddy” at monthly events (a minimum of 12 events per year are held), plus fundraisers.

Last year’s fashion show helped raise funds to support a new special needs center located at 1284 French Road. It is now a place for special needs individuals to socialize with activities including martial fitness/arts, arts and crafts, music, dances, games, programs by the D'Youville College occupational therapy department, and special events.

Elizabeth Carey will serve as emcee of the “Fantastic Friends Rock the Runway” fashion show. Several elected officials and dignitaries are expected to be on hand to show their support at the event.

Fantastic Friends’ own Peter Colbey will make his debut as live auctioneer. In addition, 16-year-old Peter, who aspires to be a game show host, is autistic, and has a natural ability to engage audiences, will do just that at the event.

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