Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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May 23, 2013

VOICE luncheon, style show brings fashions and funnies

Corsicana — When it comes to red carpet fashion, comedienne Joan Rivers is one of the more well-known, self-appointed authorities, and she had plenty to say during Thursday’s  9th Annual VOICE, Inc., Spring Luncheon and Style Show.

More than 100 people attended the annual fundraising event at the Cook Center, which featured local models showing off fashions from area retailers while the show’s emcee, Ellie Weingardt, delivered witty commentary as a Rivers impersonator.

“The fun is important, but even more important is (our effort) to raise money and awareness for our programs and services,” said VOICE CEO Lynda Sloan.

VOICE currently provides services to children and families across nine counties, encouraging healthy lifestyles, drug awareness, education and leadership development. Sloan said all of the proceeds from Thursday’s event go directly to funding upcoming programs, such as the Summer Breakout and Summer Freedom School.

“Summer Breakout is done in partnership with the housing authority,” she said, adding that the program gives children who might otherwise be unable to participate in extra-curricular activities the chance to do so. “And we’re getting geared up for our Summer Freedom School program, which is a five-week, literature-based program that works with children and their parents.”

While VOICE served more than 30,000 children and families last year, Sloan said the organization is already planning to do more to meet the ever-growing needs of the community.

“We are looking to expand our service area,” she said, adding that they are waiting to learn the status of pending grant applications. “After June 1 we should know … and we’re looking forward to providing services to about 14 service areas instead of the nine-county area we currently serve.”

A chic Hollywood red carpet theme served as the backdrop for the luncheon’s style show where fashion took center stage. Local models strolled the catwalk showing off more than 30 looks available from area business from Corsicana, Kerens, Fairfield and Athens, and Weingardt as Rivers delivered fashion commentary studded with jokes and in true salty, self-depreciating Rivers style.

“Animal print is so in style and trendy that even animals are wearing it,” she said introducing model Mable Scott decked out in a leopard-print ensemble. The showcased clothing not only looked good, but could be purchased for less than $100, she said. “And that’s less than a Botox injection.”

Weingardt, dripping with diamonds and a red and black feather boa, posed with guests for photos while perched on a high-heeled shoe chair and exchanged barbs between camera flashes during the two-hour event, which was underwritten by C.L. Brown III, Navarro Regional Hospital, Mr. & Mrs. Bryan Ruez, Texas Bank Mortgage and the Corsicana Kiwanis Club.

In addition to posing with a star and checking out local trends in spring and summer fashion, guests enjoyed a light lunch and had the chance to win door prizes and bid on a variety of tempting gift baskets and other items donated to the silent auction by various local businesses and individuals.

Director of Marketing/Development Gina Dieterichs said the organization relies heavily on volunteers and anyone interested in learning how they can help can visit www.voiceinc.org or call 903-872-0180 for more information.

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