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Westport Teens Raise Awareness, Funds For Charity

WESTPORT, Conn. – Many less fortunate families across the country will be able to put food on their tables thanks to a fundraiser led by a group of Westport high school students.

The Stride With Pride fashion show and music event held at the Westport Woman’s Club on April 7 has yielded more than $3,000 in donations, said Staples High School sophomore Kelly Gore, the brainchild behind the first-time event. Proceeds will be donated to Family-to-Family , a national nonprofit hunger relief organization.

“Stride With Pride was definitely more successful than I imagined,” said Kelly, 15. “I was really happy with the amount of donations we received for this effort.”

During the event, which Kelly said drew about 60 to 75 people, male and female students modeled fashions donated from LF and Jack Wills, two downtown retailers. Live musical performances also entertained.

In addition to proceeds raised through ticket sales, Kelly said she has received many donations in the mail from people who could not attend.

Kelly, who had never organized a fundraiser before Stride With Pride, credits her friends and family with making the event a success. About 30 of her classmates participated as models or performers.

“It made me feel really good that my community of friends and family came together to showcase their own talents while helping countless families,” Kelly said. “They all did a fantastic job, and it was a pleasure seeing the event come together with all of them involved.”

Kelly said she plans to make Stride With Pride an annual event. In fact, she’s already thinking of ways to improve it next year. For example, she said won’t schedule the show on a holiday weekend.

Not only is Kelly thrilled with the outcome of the fundraiser, she said organizing it also broadened her perspective on life.

“Through this experience, I learned that it's unnecessary to get upset about the little things in life when there are families struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “Yes, everyone has their own struggles that are difficult, but we all have the power to make something positive come out of difficult times.”

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