March 9, 2018
Advocacy & Fashion
Hello! I am beyond honored to be taking part in the third annual style show celebrating World Down Syndrome Awareness Day! The Embrace Your Style show sits at the intersection of two of my passions in life: disability advocacy and fashion.
I have been fortunate to work with people with disabilities for over 10 years. My passion for disability advocacy began with my aunt with Down Syndrome. She was a delightful woman that I was close with growing up. From a young age, I was taught that people with disabilities are differently abled, not less, and that the r-word was never acceptable. Those lessons lead me to volunteer with Special Olympics in high school followed by Best Buddies in college.
Flash forward to my current career where I work as the Program Director at Highland Friendship Club (HFC). HFC serves people with disabilities by providing social and recreational opportunities in the community with the goal of developing friendships, community connections and life skills. It is through HFC that I got acquainted with the Arc’s Value Village and their very own Personal Thriftstylist, Michelle Raven. Together, the Arc’s Value Village and HFC held our first thrifting Girl’s and Boy’s Night Out last fall, and now several HFC members will be walking down the runway in the Embrace Your Style show!
My other passion is fashion. For as long as I can remember I have kept a close eye on the world of fashion – reading Vogue and W magazines, watching the Met Gala red carpet, following all the designers and trends, etc. I love the creative expression that fashion gives a platform to. What’s more, I Iove the way that fashion allows each and every person to express themselves through what they put on their body each day. It is the easiest way to express oneself… we all must wear clothes! And so, I cannot tell you how excited and proud I am to be involved in the Embrace Your Style Show. To see beautiful, diverse models with disabilities walk down the runway in styled looks that express themselves… what an event and opportunity. I hope to see you there!!
Ashley Skelly is a volunteer for our third annual style show and will be styling our models Caroline, Angela, Axel, Michael, Halle & Max. We are lucky to have her enthusiastic support and her passion for fashion! She is a great example of our wonderful community of people, and how much we can accomplish together. Thank you Ashley!