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By Tanya Wilson

This week I had the opportunity to see 1 Peter 4:9-11 in full effect! Ms. Joyce Hart, aka “Miss Paradise” came out of retirement in order to organize and host a fundraiser by way of a fashion extravaganza, benefiting Clinton Chapel AME Zion located in Charlotte. Clinton Chapel is preparing to celebrate their 200th anniversary this year.

In the 1970’s, Ms. Hart was a featured model with the then named “Paradise Fashion Group.” Back then, her fashion troupe gained quite a bit of notoriety in the area of original fashion design, and people from all communities looked forward to their shows that promised to deliver high society fashions.

I enjoyed viewing a portfolio from the ’70’s that included pictures of her original designs from bathing suits to evening gowns. I was amazed at the fashions and the level of detail that each one offered. If I had not known better, I would have thought I was in a front row seat at the Ebony Fashion Fair! Girlfriend has skills.

A regular attendee at Clinton Chapel, Joyce knew that her skills, if offered, could not only help contribute to much needed funding, but create an atmosphere of fun and excitement for the attendees at the same time. With her plan in place and the approval of Pastor D’Andre James, she rolled up her sleeves and got busy. Her enthusiasm was contagious and many of the members of Clinton Chapel were all too happy to lend a helping hand.

In addition to the models from the congregation, two of the original models from the 70’s Paradise Fashion Troupe ripped the runway. Themes such as, Family, Seasoned Sistas, Plus Size Beauties, The Motherland and Sunday’s Best made this event a solid success. From the Pastor to the many attendees, everyone had a great time sharing as a community this first class production. Let me just say, there is a lot of personality amongst the members of Clinton Chapel, with the oldest model well beyond her ’80’s.

It’s so easy to be aware of a need, yet sit and do nothing; but when you have a gift that can help, it is required that we ask ourselves, “What can I DO to help!” If we just take the time to consider what our resources are, or who we have access to that is willing to support a worthwhile cause, we would be amazed at what we can accomplish together. In the case of the fashion show, the models shopped in their own closets and showcased them on the runway.

Let’s resist the temptation to sit there like a bump on a log, let’s look daily for areas and opportunities in our neighborhoods, our churches, our work places and our schools where we can apply our thumbprint to make a difference.

Tanya is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. You can friend her on Facebook or email her at tw360you@aol.com. Read more columns by Tanya Wilson.

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