Last week I shared a dress I made, using McCall’s 7531, to practice matching stripes. In that post I told you that I planned to use the same pattern to make a dress to wear to a fundraising Gala in my community last Friday. Well, here it is! However, before I speak about the dress, I’d like to share some information about the organization who hosted the fundraiser.
Cherished High Desert
The mission of Cherished High Desert is to walk alongside women survivors of human trafficking as they go through their journey of recovery. They equip and empower the women to live healthy and flourishing lives, and to become productive citizens in their communities. Cherished focuses on four different areas in their ministry to these women – Outreach, Support Group, Residential Program, and Employment.
- OUTREACH: A team from Cherished visits local strip clubs and distributes small, pink gift bags to the women who work there, along with invitations to their support group. For some women, the outreach gifts that Cherished gives at Christmas time are the only gifts they receive for the holidays. Cherished sends a message to these women, through their visits, that they are loved, valued, and Cherished.
- SUPPORT GROUP: Cherished facilitates weekly support groups for women survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, and those who are still actively working in the industry. The support groups provide a safe place to talk for the women and are led by survivors of human trafficking, such as founder Kate Wedell.
- RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM: Free housing is provided through their two- to three-year transitional residential program based on availability, after an application and screening process. While in the home, residents are further equipped for healthy living by learning to live in safe community while performing household chores and meeting weekly with trained staff members.
- EMPLOYMENT: After 30 days in the residential program, residents are eligible to work in the Cherished Studios where they learn valuable skills needed in the work force, such as; punctuality, teamwork, communication skills, and self-motivation. The women learn to hand craft jewelry, body & skincare products, and more. You may visit their store HERE. (Information gathered from cherished.com)
Meet Kate Wedell
Kate Wedell is the founder and Executive Director of Cherished. Kate’s inspiration for Cherished came from her own broken past. Like many women before and after her, Kate came to Hollywood to pursue a dream, but within a few days she was forced into prostitution to survive. She became a stripper and a drug addict. Eventually, Kate was sex-trafficked by a man she thought was her boyfriend.
After multiple arrests and being incarcerated at Sybil Brand Women’s Correctional Facility, she found the courage to escape the lifestyle she had been afraid to leave. In doing so, her life was threatened by her past associations. She was followed and tormented after she walked away from “the industry.”
Those years are behind her now, but it was because Kate found the truth. She found out that she is Cherished and loved more than she could ever imagine and created with a purpose. (Information gathered from cherished.com)
Cherished hosts an annual Gala to raise funds in support of the financial needs to run the program. My husband and I had the pleasure of attending the Gala this year, and what a fabulous event it was. The festivities included a Silent Auction, A Walk in Her Shoes Exhibit, Red Carpet Photos, Scott Martin Latin Soul Band, Comedian Don Friesen, Fallen Heroes Recognition, Survivor Stories from the women, and more. We were shocked to hear some of the statistics of human trafficking. I was especially touched by the courage of the survivors who stood to share their stories. These women have been through so much, some starting as young as 4 and 5 years old. If you would like to donate to this organization to help in the efforts of bringing hope and healing to the many women who will walk through the Cherished doors, you may do so HERE. If you or someone you know is in a situation such as these women, please reach out to Kate HERE. I know she will be glad to speak with you. In the words of Kate, please know that you are “Loved, Valued, and CHERISHED!”
A Walk in Her Shoes Exhibit
A Walk in Her Shoes Exhibit highlights the stories of survivors of human trafficking, told in their own voices. Displayed on top of the pedestals are the actual shoes worn by survivors during their time in the sex industry. Using their own cell phones, visitors scan the QR codes on the pedestals and listen to the survivors tell their stories, using the provided headphones. The purpose of A Walk in Her Shoes is to raise awareness about human trafficking and the connection between childhood sexual abuse and the sex industry. If you are interested in booking this exhibit for your next event, you may contact Cherished HERE. (Information gathered from cherished.com)
A huge thank you to Cherished High Desert for the service you provide to those who seek healing and a new start. Your ministry to these women is a beautiful act of worship to God. He sees the desires of your heart in opening your arms to the broken, and He is well pleased. Whenever we answer His call to service, He will meet the need, so that His purpose may go forward. God bless each of you!
The event photographer was my dear friend, Pam. We have attended the same church since our children were very young. She captured me and my husband (in the photo below) on the carpet leading into the venue, and I love it. She gives so much to our community by sharing her gift. She also uses her stunning nature photos to create the most amazing scripture art. You have to see it. Check out her work and make contact on her social sites below if you’re interested in her services. She’s an amazing woman and you will love working with her.
McCall’s 7531 – Cocktail-Style
If you saw last week’s post, you’ll remember how easy I said this pattern is to sew. For those who missed that post, you may see it HERE. As I mentioned in the last post, simple patterns are great for showcasing amazing fabrics. Cocktail attire was suggested for the event, so this time I used a sequin knit fabric from my stash that I purchased from non other than the Michael Levine Loft in Downtown, Los Angeles. I love the print and tiny sequin pieces on this fabric.
I wanted to wear a pair of shoes that would complement the fabric, so when I found these gorgeous high heels with bling bows on the back and tried them on, I literally squealed in the store. My husband was with me, and I turned to him and said, “What you say nooow, what you say?” I was smiling, posing and turning the whole time. Then I covered my mouth like an excited little school girl, went to turn back to the mirror, and there was a lady watching me and smiling. Hahaha! It was so funny! She probably thought I was strange but I just couldn’t contain it! Seriously, the photos don’t do them justice. They are more beautiful in person. They actually sparkle. When I find a cute pair of shoes, the squeal has to come out.
This is a very thin fabric, so I needed to line it. However, since I was running short on time, I skipped the lining and opted for a spanx slip. Under normal circumstances I would never leave a fabric like this unlined, but in this case I had to go against the norm. I like to wear jersey knit slips (poly/spandex) with slinky fitted dresses when needed. I find that they help to keep the garment in place as opposed to wearing slinky against slinky, where the garment tends to slide around. There’s nothing worse than finding your center back seam on your right or left buttock. Oooh, it’s horrible! I know because it has happened to me.
Create the Look
- Pattern: McCall’s 7531 (View D) – Slit omitted
- Fabric: Sequin Knit
- Undergarment: Spanx Tank Slip (This isn’t the one I wore for the evening, but certainly my preference.)
Thanks for stopping by!
Remember: When you live in your DESIGN, it is from there that God SHINES!
All photos courtesy of CEMO! (except where mentioned)