On Friday, June 15, on a beautiful summer afternoon, Collabria Care’s Day Program participants were happy to strut their stuff as they walked down a well-attended fashion runway to boisterous cheers.

Accompanied by the agency’s directors and other staff—their designated escorts—thirteen ladies and eight gents received the star treatment, complete with hair and make-up, to show fashions both colorful and sporty. Adding much to the festivities as emcee was Miss Napa County, Jill Santos. Wearing her official sash and tiara, Jill posed for photos with the models and other Day Program participants. It made for a room full of smiles.

We have many to thank! The show was the brainchild of Patsy, a program participant who proposed the event. Taking her turn as a model, Patsy also donated both fashions and jewelry to the show. Gusta Ruygers, a volunteer with both Hospice and the Day Program, was co-producer with Veronna Ladd, Day Program Coordinator. Veronna and Gusta acquired donations and managed the event—while Gusta made clothing alterations for the models and did the final fittings, assuring each garment looked ship-shape and crisp.  Volunteer Jerry Miller built the show’s curtain canopy and ran the spotlight.

The event received generous donations from individuals and businesses throughout our community such as The Mustard Seed Clothing Co. in Napa, and Collabria Care’s resale shop, La Boheme. Our Day Program participants were not only given a chance to shine—but the option to take home the garments they wore.

Fun as it was, the long-term effect of such an event is sometimes difficult to measure. But one Day Program participant returned with a significant report: at church the following Sunday, a gentleman and fellow program participant wore the outfit he had modeled in the fashion show. Socially retiring and always reticent to communicate, that gentleman raised many an eyebrow by showing unexpected confidence and reaching out to shake many worshipers’ hands.