Illinois State University’s communication sciences and disorders (CSD) students spent Sunday afternoon setting up for their event, "Choose to Shine."
"Choose to Shine" is a fashion show that gives community member with Down Syndrome a chance to take a moment on stage and become a supermodel for the day. With over 40 models, the event was filled with joy and dance moves.
Committee member and ISU junior communication sciences and disorders major Allie Persicketti decided to study speech pathology to help families on a day to day bases.
“I just really enjoy watching them smile. It’s cool to see them here and enjoying themselves. That’s why I enjoy doing this,” Persicketti said.
Persicketti was one of the many that helped make this event possible. With gathering sponsors, setting up and creating a special night for the models, the members of CSD have spent countless days creating these memories.
“Many hours to put this together. I meet with the students from the department of communications sciences and disorders. They are the ones that put it together. I’m in charge of it and the students help run it. We meet throughout the year. We start in September,” chairperson and clinical educator Kim Adelman said.
Adelman went on to say that the models were accompanied by the ISU sports teams and that made the models feel more comfortable being on stage in front of a large group.
“I think it’s important because it shows that a lot of people that don’t have privilege, I feel like they have something in life. They deserve to be a part of something special. I feel like us coming out here, using our platform to help them feel special is incredible. I’d really love to be here,” ISU basketball graduate student Matthew Hein said.
Not only were ISU students, athletes and CSD majors welcomed, but so was the Bloomington-Normal community. Community member Heidi Kelleher found out about the event through Adelman on Sunday at church last year and has come ever since.
“It’s a great event. I came last year. It just made me happy to come. I’ll come every year she does it. It just means a lot to all the kids and their families,” Kelleher said.
The event was selling raffle tickets, flowers and candy bouquets that allowed the program to get fundraising for future events and programs.