BOCA RATON, Fla. — At The Addison in Boca Raton, there was a different style of fundraiser Tuesday.
It’s called “A Fashion Show with Heart,” a fundraiser to help raise money for JARC Florida, an assisted living community providing programs and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
John Gardner Jr. is one of 15 clients from JARC Florida in the show. The 40-year-old was diagnosed with Down Syndrome as a child.
“He’s been a model for three years and he loves it,” Karen Gardner said.
John’s parents said this year meant more.
“It makes them feel like they are a part of the group,” Karen Gardner said. “It enables them to take center stage.”
“It’s something to look forward to outside the house,” John Gardner Sr. said.
The hybrid event was held online and in person.
“To be able to Zoom in and still see the wonderful expressions on the clients face and seeing them be able to strike their poses,” Jeffrey Zirulnick said.
Zirulnick is the CEO of JARC Florida. He said the fundraiser is also helping to offset some of the losses caused by the pandemic.
“An event like this demonstrates that they can be a part of our world, just like any one of us would like to be a part of engaging with the community,” he said.