ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – Partners In Learning has lined up top talent, special needs models, and local sponsors for its Fifth Annual “Just As I Am” Special Needs Fashion show on Tuesday, September 14th at 6:30 p.m.
This year’s event will be held at the brand new Bell Tower Green Park, located in downtown Salisbury, as well as air live on Facebook and YouTube.
The annual fashion show is in memory of an alumni Jacob Usher who passed away in 2015, at the age of eight.
“This year marks the fifth year of our special needs fashion show. Each year, it just gets better and better. It has become an event that our community looks forward to. Children with special needs rarely get the opportunity to show off all of their positive attributes in such a special way. Everyone in attendance receives a special blessing! One of their parents is able to walk with them and that allows them to feel special for the parent they are, unlike what it is often like when they take their child in public. Your support is needed more than ever to provide stability for children with special needs in our community”, says Norma Honeycutt, Executive Director.
Cassie Karriker, Early Intervention Director, who works directly with many of the children in the fashion show states, “The Fashion Show has become an event that the families of children with special needs look forward to. The fashion show is a wonderful event that allows our community to learn more about children and families with special needs and see the struggles that they are facing every day. It brings all of those things to light that many years ago used to not be talked about. I am excited that I get to be a part of an event that not only makes these families feel special but also helps educate our community on how to be inclusive of all people.”
During COVID, many of these children were faced with a loss of services including speech therapy, developmental therapy, and physical therapy.
Partners In Learning began providing telehealth services to help support parents as well as turn office spaces into therapy rooms to provide these children with a safe environment to continue their much needed therapy.
“Space was limited, but we did everything we could to ensure no child was told no to services during an already stressful pandemic”, says Amy Vestal Development Director. “Many children with special needs thrive over routine and predictable schedules. When COVID interrupted that and turned their world upside down, we had to knock down as many walls as possible to meet the needs of children during this very stressful and unsteady time. We utilized Amazon to mail families the adaptive materials needed for in-home use, as well as create a pick-up zone where families could come pick up adaptive materials for their child.”
Partners In Learning’s family support specialist, early intervention specialist, developmental therapists, and behavioral specialist all began using telehealth to ensure they could have virtual support anytime that was needed. All funds raised during the Just As I Am Fashion Show will go to support the needed services for children and their families, including scholarships for those who are unable to afford early educational services.
Partners In Learning provides home, community, and early education services. It’s home-based developmental therapy is provided across 16 counties in North Carolina and Nationally Accredited early education services at two locations in Salisbury.
Sponsors supporting this year’s event include Novant Health as event sponsor; Salisbury Academy, Hotwire Communications, Heart of Salisbury, Carolina Stamping, and Dennis and Kathy Ingold as our Silver Sponsor; Trinity Oaks as our Child and Family Sponsor.
Donations can be made by mailing a check to 2386 Robin Rd. Salisbury, NC 28144 or by visiting epartnersinlearning.org. Tickets to the event can also be purchased on the website.