Ability Center Auxiliary is ‘Steppin’ Out in Style’

Mary Helen Darah

President of Auxiliary to the Ability Center of Greater Toledo and co-chair, Arlene Whelan, visits with co-chair Gwen Ames about the upcoming ‘Steppin’ Out in Style’ event.

The Ability Center of Greater Toledo will be hosting ‘Steppin’ Out in Style,’ on Oct. 5 at The Pinnacle, 1772 Indian Wood Circle in Maumee. Doors open at 10 am. The perennial event will be hosted by Sashem Brey of 13abc.

Gwen Ames, past president of the Auxiliary to The Ability Center and co-chair of this year’s event, has been involved in the organization for years. “My interest in TAC started many years ago when I attended their style show that, at the time, was held at Stranahan Theater & Great Hall,” she recalled. “I kept getting drawn back. Mary Tucker of the Auxiliary persisted in asking me to help with the fashion show. I finally agreed and helped with arrangements my first year and the rest is history. I’m still at it a decade later.”

Arlene Whelan, current president and first-time co-chair, is also excited about the upcoming event that will benefit the organization. “It is the most wonderful organization,” she stated. “We hope to get the word out and have people support the event because they do so much for our community. The organization’s goal is to get people to think differently. I think people are getting more comfortable with people with disabilities and those with disabilities are thinking differently as well. Having a disability doesn’t have to hold anyone down. People with disabilities are capable of amazing things.”

The ‘Steppin’ Out in Style’ committee has arranged fashions from local designers and boutique vendors, raffle baskets, a silent auction and more for the annual event that will benefit children and adults with disabilities. Vendors include Jewelry by Design, Libra Palette, Ragazza, Roxy, Sunny Meade Alpacas, Unruly Arts, and All Good Things, a gift shop within Lourdes University. Fashions will be provided by J Jill, Chicos, Ragazza Boutique, Hip to the Groove, Vivian Kate, and Zina’s. “Make sure to look for a wonderful little girl that received an assistance dog a year and a half ago on the runway,” said Ames. “She received the therapy dog that was sponsored by the Auxiliary.”

The event will support The Ability Center programs including Assistance Dogs, Home Accessibility, Youth and Transition Services and the College Scholarship Program. The co-chairs expressed that there are still opportunities to get involved with raffle baskets, advertising, sponsoring, and the silent auction. “We hope people support the event that will help TAC support people with disabilities and live independently in the community.”

Tickets to the Oct. 5 show are $65. Reservations must be received by Sept. 16. For more information, call 419-515-3779 or visit abilitycenter.org.

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