Some 1,200 caregivers from six counties, including Oakland and Macomb, are expected to attend a caregiver appreciation day and fashion show at the Palazzo Grande Banquet Center from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 16.
Caregivers who help people with developmental disabilities will be honored with the Caregiver Angels Award. In addition, 100 caregivers and people with disabilities will model clothes in the Kohl’s Caregiver Fashion Show.Tim Joy from North Oakland Residential Services and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel will address the attendees. The Shelby Township event is hosted by MORC, Inc., a nonprofit that provides services in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties to people with disabilities. Besides these three counties, caregivers from St. Clair, Genesee, and Lapeer counties also will attend the fashion show.
The Kohl’s fashion show is not typical in that people with disabilities and their caregivers model together. Models are selected not based on appearance but on how meaningful the experience will be to them.“We have people who were locked away in institutions or who face extreme challenges with their disabilities who never dreamed of being in a show,” said Sue Gipperich, MORC supports coordination supervisor and host of the event.
“Caregivers and family members who model with loved ones are thrilled to see how much it means for a person to be cheered on by a crowd of over 1,000.”Maggie Lewis with Kohl’s Cares for Kids in Rochester Hills, the show’s sponsor, said, “It is not your run-of-the-mill show and not your deadpan expressionless models. There's more screaming, cheering, laughing and smiling than you'll see at any event ever.”
Gerald Provencal, the executive director of MORC, said, “I am proud of all our caregivers who do so much to help our people live rich and full lives.”Kohl’s is donating $15,000 worth of clothes to the models. Stylists from two salons also have volunteered to help models with hair and makeup.
The Caregiver Angels Awards, funded by Dr. Arthur Woehrlen, a Macomb County dentist, will honor 10 caregivers an “Angels” jacket, and a check for $250. A new caregiver award will be presented in honor of Colleen O'Neill Brayton, one of the original organizers of the MORC Caregiver Appreciation Day, who died in 2012.Jerry Wolffe, a disability rights advocate and writer in residence at MORC Inc., can be reached at 586 263 8950.