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September 10, 2019
Kayla’s Children Centre Fashion Show presented by Toronto Fashion Week raises $600K for children with special needs
Thornhill, ON (September 6, 2019) – The kids of Kayla’s Children Centre (KCC) stole the show at the organization’s 15th annual charity fashion show presented for the first time by Toronto Fashion Week on September 5 at The ROM.
Dressed by Sugar and Spice Children’s Boutique, the children courageously graced the same runway as the professional models and brought the audience to their feet in celebration. Community models dressed by Maska, Philip and Toronto’s Vintage Clothier, Carmelita Blondet of Divine Decadence Originals, fundraised for the opportunity to strut their stuff and raised a record-breaking $200,000, bringing the event total to $600,000 for the cause.
More than 500 people attended the sold-out event, which promotes awareness and raises vital funds for KCC’s cutting-edge educational and therapeutic programs for children with special needs, as well as supports for their families, year-round, in its new state-of-the-art facility in Thornhill.
Co-chaired again by long-time KCC supporters Esti Cohen, Renee Rosenzweig and Stacy Markin – the event’s founder and mother of a former student – the event is what the women call a “project of passion”.
“Partnering with Toronto Fashion Week has enabled us to raise the bar and raise more funds than ever to benefit so many vulnerable children who inspire and motivate us to bring forth this magnificent and magical event,” said Markin. “It is a call to action and our kind-hearted community most definitely answers the call!”
Designers presented in the show included Milli, Greta Constantine, Shelli Oh, Smythe, Woodpecker, Catherine Regehr, Marie Saint Pierre, King & Bay and Lucian Matis, with accessories by Alan Anderson, Lilliput Hats, and Rita Tesolin. Erika Larva of Monarch Event Group produced the show, in conjunction with the talented team behind Toronto Fashion Week. Dynamic television host, producer and reporter, Liz West, emceed the evening.
The theme of this year’s show centred around the emotional impacts of raising a child with mental or physical disabilities, in addition to the child’s own mental health, and the need for supports and understanding. To kick off the evening, a poignant video featuring children and parents who spoke about the power of KCC’s programs in unlocking their children’s abilities.
“Eli’s been at KCC for the last two years,” says Channy Reichman. “He went from being completely non-verbal [when] he started in September, and by November – my favourite story – he comes out with a cake for my birthday and tells me ‘happy birthday you mum’ and I start balling like a baby,” she says with a smile. “It was the best birthday gift ever . . . my kid who wasn’t saying anything for the first three years of his life was suddenly trying to talk to me. He’s really just a different kid today and we’re really, really fortunate that we have had KCC involved.”
According to KCC’s executive director and head of school, Yaffi Scheinberg, the centre serves children of all abilities and needs but has traditionally been viewed as focused on helping children with obvious physical or developmental disabilities. The challenge has been trying to get the community to recognize the organization as a resource and a place for children who look typical but may be struggling with social, emotional or mental health issues, and whose parents have been told by every other school that they can’t be accommodated.
“So many of our students do not even have a diagnosis, but their anxiety, learning challenges or behavioural issues have kept them from managing in our day school system. What we have built at KCC in the last two years is the groundwork for an adapted and inclusive program for students who, when properly supported, have the potential to learn and succeed.”
ABOUT KAYLA’S CHILDREN CENTRE
Kayla’s Children Centre was founded in May 2017 as a non-profit organization that resulted from the merger of the Zareinu Educational Center of Metropolitan Toronto (founded in 1989) and Project AIM Programs (founded in 2007). Both shared a passionate desire to empower children with special needs to develop life enhancing skills, self-esteem, and confidence. Recognizing their synergies, Zareinu and Project AIM concluded that as a single entity they could be a dream come true for children with special needs and their families, providing everything they require under one roof, year-round, in a state-of-the-art facility located in Thornhill, ON. For more information visit kaylaschildrencentre.org
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