SALISBURY – Partners In Learning held the fourth annual “Just As I Am” virtual Special Needs Fashion Show on September 8th.
This virtual event does not slow down children and their families or donations to PIL, nor does it slow down donations for
Prior to COVID-19, this event was held live on the Catawba College campus with audiences cheering about the child model and her family, but the event was moved online to protect the health and safety of not only event attendees but also children, many of whom suffers from autoimmune disorders.
This virtual event is broadcast live as a prerecorded video on Facebook, YouTube and Hotwire channel 397 that reaches viewers all the way to Texas.
Facebook Stream was viewed by 1,900 people with an estimated reach of over 3,700 people and received 780 engagements and 21 shares.
When the event was held live in 2019, 150 people attended, raising a total of $ 16,000 for the nonprofit.
The virtual premiere of the event allowed PIL to reach a wider audience outside the Rowan District area and spread greater awareness of the much needed services and care offered by
Partners in Learning.
This digital event almost doubled the total donation from the previous year.
“When you try something new, like going virtual, you never know how it will turn out,” said PIL Executive Director Norma Honeycutt. “I was really excited when Amy Vestal, our development director told me how much we had collected. This is a much needed fund to help support all of our families with children with special needs. “
Paired with an online silent auction, the total amount raised was $ 29,613 on September 14.
Amy Vestel, Director of Development at PIL, said the organization is working with dedicated committee members to make this year a success despite the pandemic.
The event is sponsored by community members and organizations in memory of Shirley Ritchie, founder of PIL.
Gold tier sponsors for the event were, Heart of Salisbury, Miller Davis, Central Carolina Insurance, Greg and Missie Alcorn, Celia and Steve Jarrett. Silver sponsors for the event were Trinity Oaks, Bill and Shari Graham, Kathy and Dennis Ingold.
The children and families who sponsored the event were F&M Bank, Edward Jones with Michael Hanzlik, Moose Pharmacy, Susan and John Muth, Allison and Mark Doby, Libby and Jon Post, Darlene Ball, Diana and Scott Aldridge.
This annual event is held to commemorate alumni Jacob Usher who graduated in 2015 at the age of eight.
This event gives families with special needs children the opportunity to walk the runway and celebrate what
make them special. It provides public awareness of child development disorders, as well as the need to serve families in the community.
PIL provides services that allow parents to continue working on providing the special care their child needs.
The organization provides center, home, and community programs for families in and around Rowan County.
Through an inclusive center-based early education program, they serve more than 80 students with special needs or
This is equal to 30% of enrollments. In addition to the family-based centers that PIL serves, they provide family education and support services to more than 250 families in Rowan County. Their mission is to provide this essential service at the least, or no, minimum cost possible.
If you missed the Special Needs Fashion Show live stream, the pre-recorded videos can still be viewed on PIL’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Donations can still be made by sending an SMS that says “PILPROUD” to 704-440-5656. Additional ways to give can be found on the PIL website at https://epartnersinlearning.org/support-pil/give-today.
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