Fundraising event puts glamorous face on solving issues of abuse

May 15 2010 - 11:52pm

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(DJAMILA GROSSMAN/Standard-Examiner) Models walk on the runway Saturday during The Art of Beauty Fashion Show, a fundraiser for the YCC of Ogden/Northern Utah, at the Ben Lomond Hotel.
(DJAMILA GROSSMAN/Standard-Examiner) Models walk on the runway Saturday during The Art of Beauty Fashion Show, a fundraiser for the YCC of Ogden/Northern Utah, at the Ben Lomond Hotel.

OGDEN -- There's nothing glamorous about getting beat up by a boyfriend.

But two local women made helping victims of abuse just that Saturday night at The Art of Beauty Fashion Show at the Ben Lomond Suites Hotel.

The fund-raising event for Your Community Connection YCC featured some of the most unique and glitzy fashions and art available in the Ogden area.

"It's all the underlying message," said Jennifer Burns, an event organizer and master of ceremonies for the evening.

She said putting a glamorous spin on an important service in the Ogden area sends a strong message. "It's all in the good cause to help benefit the YCC and make a difference in these ladies' lives."

At the center of the festivities were women who have sought refuge and an opportunity to turn their lives around at the YCC.

Three graduates of the program received glamour makeovers and modeled their new looks as part of a New York-style fashion show.

"I never thought they would do something like this for me," said Carrie Call, 23, who has a shiny new copper red hair color she received shortly after moving from the YCC last week.

She said she turned to the women's shelter at the YCC after she discovered she had gotten pregnant in her abusive relationship.

"I realized I didn't want that for my baby," she said.

"He dropped me off at the shelter."

But Call said she continued to visit her abuser at first.

"My counselor convinced me I didn't need that in my life," she said.

As volunteers from Salon and Spa 5th Avenue and Valley Hair rushed about putting the final touches on her Saturday, Call said she'd be taking her new look and new attitude with her as she gets her life in order before her baby, due in December, is born. She'll be finishing her GED and going to the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College to get her certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

"My mom says 'See what happens when you start doing things for yourself? Good things start to happen to ya.' "

Next to her in the beautician's chair was 53-year-old Debra Chacon.

She described her two-year abusive relationship as anything but glamorous.

But Saturday, Chacon was showing off new gold streaks through her jet black hair.

"I felt like a million bucks when they got done," she said of her makeover. "It makes me feel better about myself."

Chacon said when she left the YCC shelter after 36 days of intensive self study and counseling, she was ready to take on the world with a new attitude.

"I'm on my own but with a different attitude," she said. "I now know how to deal with anger. I feel more positive about things."

When she looks back on her experiences that led her to the shelter, she said she'll remember important life lessons.

"It will teach me to make better choices in life," she said. "I made it out of the relationship alive. That's something to be grateful for."

Also receiving a glamor makeover for the event was an apartment at the YCC's transitional housing unit.

"We went over the walls with vibrant colors," said Chris Wilkerson, a partner at Crowley Wilkerson Fine Art Galleries and Wilkerson Fine Design. "We put art in so it makes the room feel better."

Believing that art elevates the space it occupies, Wilkerson predicts that improvements to the apartment will create a ripple effect so that the occupants will improve all of their interactions.

A video of the changes in the apartment was part of the festivities.

The evening also featured music and dance performances as well as film presentations.

Saturday's event featured a long list of sponsors including Ogden Arts, Downtown Ogden Inc., Historic 25th Street Association and a host of area businesses.

"It's kind of a gathering of our community," said Wilkerson, who also served as an event organizer.

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