By Joel Hall
Hundreds of people gathered at the Battle Creek Auditorium in Jonesboro on Friday to see more than a dozen models walk the runway, during The Clayton Center and My Sister's Keeper Fashion Show.
In its seventh year, the show helped raised money to buy medical supplies for the My Sister's Keeper and My Brother's Keeper programs, which shelter the homeless and help them break free from drug addictions.
It also helped boost the confidence of 14 women, all of whom were able to kick their drug habits through the My Sister's Keeper program.
Paula Crane, coordinator of the Clayton Center and founder of the My Sister's Keeper and My Brother's Keeper programs, said the fashion show takes place every September to highlight National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. She said the event provides a confidence boost to women who have recently turned their lives around.
"Part of this is to build them up and let them know that they are somebody," said Crane. "Just a few months ago, they were homeless or incarcerated and really feeling bad about themselves.
"We started this in 1997 to build self-esteem in the women and let them know that they are special and that they can be a part of something great," said Crane.
Officials from the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, as well as the Cty of Riverdale, were on hand to show their support. Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon even shared the story of her son's past battle with drugs and offered words of encouragement.
"I have a son that was addicted, so I do understand the process of recovery," said Wynn-Dixon. "When you are addicted to drugs, it just doesn't affect you. It has a domino affect.
"You have to speak victory into your life," she said. "Nobody can take your victory away from you, unless you let them."
Trini Walker, a recovering addict enrolled in the program, lauded the event, and its sponsors.
"It continues to help us build our confidence and do things that we haven't done before," said Walker. "[The program] helped me learn how to be a more mannerable, more responsible person and just live as a normal member of society. Anything we can do [to support to the program] will be a tremendous help."