Area student models pose after Monday's fashion show. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)
Area student models pose after Monday's fashion show. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)

BY SHERRY MISSLER

Times Bulletin Staff Writer

smissler@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT – Local celebrities modeled a variety of fashion trends for young and old alike Monday at the Wassenberg Art Center. It was all part of Van Wert Manor’s 5th annual Learn with Friends Fashion Show. Jacque Welch, Van Wert Manor administrator, described the fashion show as “a fun outreach event.” She added that the Manor sponsors other such events during the year, but this one she noted is special. “This one we charge a minimal amount of $15, take all of that money, and donate it towards Van Wert’s Blessings in a Backpack program,” she said.

The show is a very popular event and raises quite a bit of money. “We had 160 guests here this year,” Welch said. In addition to the cost of admission tickets, additional money is raised through the so-called extra red fashion mystery boxes. Finally, people are able to write out checks to Van Wert Blessings and the Manor ensures St. Mark’s receives the funds. The Manor is still collecting money, but has already raised $1,750.

Welch spoke on the importance of the program. “Van Wert Blessings in a Backpack is a weekend program that is handled by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. It’s an outreach program where they send backpacks filled with food home for the weekend for kids from eighth grade to elementary at Van Wert City Schools and St. Mary’s Schools. They serve about 200 children a week,” Welch said. The program began in 2009 with Mrs. Taylor’s English class at Van Wert High School. It began as an outreach program of the group’s senior project. “St. Mark’s has incorporated it as part of their ministry,” Welch added.

Welch recognized Wassenberg Art Center for hosting the event as well as MOD Boutique, The Curvy Closet, Humble Bumble Children’s Boutique, and Stephanie Dawn for providing the clothing and accessories. Models included Dr. Rebecca Adams, Stacey Baer, Shenett DeWitt, Libby Jones, Christine Heizman, Kylie Owens, Kimberly Laudick, Michelle Gunter, Katelyn Welch, Olivia Treece, Deb Lehman, Lisette Kitson, Morgan Magowan, Staci Dotson, Tafi Stober, Kyra Welch, Debbie Jones, Jackie Hernandez, Ella Hernandez, Meghan Dicke, Tisha Fast, Paula Stabler, Leah Treece, Quincy Thompson, Melody Hileman, Brandy Leiber, Nikki Swaney, Marcia Pond, Vicki Smith, Julie Lang, Jaelyn Brown, Jordyn Brown, Bristol Evans, Keiley Welch, Kemlynn Welch, Delanie Balliet, Brynlee Balliet, Betty Foust, Janet Hiegel, Betty Vogt, Cleota Knott, and Janice Osburn. There were also approximately 40 students from Van Wert High School who served Monday as volunteer assistants.

Welch ended by saying, “I am appreciative of everyone who participates in the fashion show. This is our fifth one and we hope to continue to do it. It’s something fun to do for the holiday season, but it also allows Van Wert Manor to give back to our community.”