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Model citizens: Women’s Club plans gala fashion show

March 28, 2013
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The General Women's Club of Lehigh Acres is preparing for one of its biggest social events of the year with the annual Fashion Show that it sponsors to raise money to help provide college scholarships of at least $500 each to five Lehigh residents. Mostly, they provide scholarships to single moms and dads with children who want to return to college or start college all together.

The fashion show will be held April 6 from 11:30) a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning with a lunch, all to be held at the Colonial Country Club at 9175 Independence Way just outside Lehigh, off of Colonial Blvd.

The cost of admittance to the fashion show which is open to club members and their guests and members of the public is $25 and those who plan to attend should contact Diane Lashua at her email address of to buy a ticket. You can mail the check made out to the General Women's Club and sending it to her at 23 Sebring Circle, Lehigh Acres, 33936.

Article Photos

Most of the women shown here will be modeling spring and summer fashions “Clothes in Paradise” for the General Women’s Club of Lehigh on April 6. They are shown from left to right, standing Betty Mitchell, Marjorie Hill, Martha Daigler, Joy Thompson, and Mary Beck, one of the coordinators of the show. Front row seated are from left to right, Diane Lashua, Laura Milenkevich, and Reba Money, the coordinator for the selection of participants. Other models who were not in the photo are Joan Sozzi and Patty Long.

The deadline is this week and tickets to the fashion show are selling fast this year. Reba Money, Mary Beck and Karen McKenzie are coordinating the show. Money, who has been responsible for the selection of the models, said the theme of this year's show is "Fashions in Paradise" and the women in the club will be the models with the latest styles clothing are being provided by Anthony's of Fort Myers. This year's models include Diane Lashua, Laura Milenkevich, Betty Mitchell, Marjorie Hill, Martha Daigler, Joy Thompson, Joan Sozzi, and Patty Long.

The menu includes what planners are calling a yummy crusted pecan chicken dish along with vegetables and key lime pie.

The club consists of some 76 women today but when it was first organized in 1960 and held its first fashion show, 250 women attended and membership was well over 100 women.

The membership of the club was much larger then even though Lehigh was but a small community. Many of the members passed away and in later years, a lot of younger women are working. Retired women are encouraged, as are younger members to join the club and meet most months of the year except for June, July and August.

Money said clothing was provided for models at the first fashion show by a dress shop in Fort Myers Beach. She said the show has continued every year since its beginning. Shows were held in what is remembered as the "old auditorium." It is now a church on Joel Blvd.

At first, Money said the club belonged to a federation of clubs but in 1964, the club decided to work on its own through being incorporated and using all the money the club raised from its many activities to provide scholarships and other funding to help organizations in Lehigh.

"In 2009, the focus was changed to award scholarships to single parents wishing to return to school in order to better provide for their children," Money said.

Lynn Beck of Lehigh, who well-known for her volunteer service the Greater Lehigh Acres Area Chamber of Commerce, said she joined the women's club in 1988 when it had 150 members. She said the club supported the Ronald McDonald House. It is her daughter, Mary Beck, who is one of the coordinators of the fashion show.

"Back then the fashion show tickets were $6 each and that included a card party, luncheon and dessert," she laughed. "Today, it is the place to be for Lehigh women to see the very fashions of the season."

"The Holly Ball was a big event when the Elks had its hall when we had 150 in attendance at our annual events," she said.

Money said he club has helped several local organizations over the years. For those who want to join the club, call Norma Jackson, the club's president, at 369-9555.

For those who have not yet applied for scholarship, call the same number. Money from the fashion show will go toward the scholarships to be presented in May.



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