SS on the Scene: Universal Companies Inaugural Fashion Show Fundraiser

Syreeta on the Scene / December 10, 2012

photoAt this point, I’ve been to my fair share of fashion shows in Philadelphia, and I must say that “An Evening of Style & Grace” presented by Universal Companies (UC) certainly topped the cake.

The inaugural fashion show fundraiser, which was spearheaded by philanthropists and UC founders Kenneth Gamble and wife Faatimah Gamble, was produced to benefit the Universal “Pearls of Wisdom” and “From Boys to Men” character building and social etiquette programs. Both programs started out as a course of etiquette education over 25 years ago after Mrs. Gamble, a certified Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant from the International Protocol School of Washington, DC, began facilitating and mentoring young men and women. She found early on that youth were “lacking the core training that was once a staple of home economic courses such as cooking, dining and social etiquette”.

“Pearls of Wisdom”  and “From Boys to Men” are now out-of-school-time leadership, life-skills and self-esteem development programs for adolescent females and males respectively. Upon successful completion of the programs participants are rewarded with a financial stipend and a special gift .

On a larger scale, Universal Companies, which was founded in 1993, serves as aimgres leading Philadelphia-based “community development and education management corporation”. Currently led by President and CEO, Rahim Islam, Universal has built over 1,500 units of housing and currently educates over 3700 children via their management of six charter schools in Philadelphia. Their mission is to create “educational, cultural and entrepreneurial opportunities that will stimulate the development of wealth within historically disenfranchised communities”.

Held at the beautiful University of the Arts, the event was attended by some of Philadelphia’s influential and recognized individuals. As attendees mingled, they enjoyed delectable food from Rocket Catering which is a part of Universal Audenried‘s Culinary Arts Academy. Universal Audenried partnered with Hyatt at the Bellevue Philadelphia where the Bellevue’s banquet team provided Wait Staff Training for the Scholars and oversaw their service on the floor. They did an astounding job both with the food and service. Some of my menu favorites were the Smoked Salmon served Canapés and the Sautéed Miniature Crab Cakes drizzled with Remoulade Sauce.

Participants of the "Boys to Men" program.

Participants of the “Boys to Men” program.

The program featured testimonials from former participants of the “Pearls of Wisdom”  and “From Boys to Men” in addition commentary and thanks from Kenneth and Faatimah Gamble.

And then there was the fashion show which featured garments from designers Frank Agostino, Philadelphia retail clothier Boyds and jewelry by Dianne Taxin Beifield…

The models had to work a grand staircase all while managing not to go tumbling in an absolute mess–WHICH THEY DID. The constant movement of the models up and down the staircase coupled with the way that they worked the various dimensions of the steps and landings were graceful to say the least. The garments flowed beautifully on the steps and the use of stellar choreography provided the audience located on both the main and balcony floors with a grand view.

Of course I captured some video so that you’d have an idea of my explanation, so take a moment to check it out:

By all accounts, “An Evening of Style & Grace” exemplified precisely what the title says. I’m honored to have been able to attend and give my support to UC and the wonderful work that they’re involved in!

Check out the SS gallery below:

Below are pictures pulled from Universal Companie’s official photo gallery for “An Evening of Style & Grace” via Facebook. You can view the complete photo gallery by clicking here.

– Sincerely Syreeta

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Don't expect a sweet life when you always have a sour attitude. - Sincerely Syreeta

December 10, 2012