“Model Citizen” fashion show raises funds for children with autism
Story by Chris Blose
Originally published Mar. 11, 2008 in Mizzou Wire. Republished with permission.
These numbers aren’t pretty: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one child out of every 150 has a neurodevelopment disorder on the autism spectrum. Diagnoses of those disorders have multiplied by 10 over the past decade.
For all the ugly numbers, though, there are others that yield hope: 700 people donated $120,000 toward treating the disease at MU’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
The center raised those funds on March 8 at this year’s “Model Citizen” fashion show. Students, children and other models strutted down the runway. Clothing stores, professional designers and design students from Mizzou and Stephens College offered their wares. Entertainment Tonight host Jann Carl and KOMU news anchor Megan Murphy lent their famous faces and talent as emcees.
“The event is only in its second year, but I think it’s quickly becoming an elite gathering in terms of bringing awareness to autism and what the Thompson Center does,” says Columbia businessman Brian Neuner. Neuner and his wife, Candy, a pediatric nurse, served as honorary co-chairs for the event and made a donation to the center.
Stephens College fashion design student Maggie Robey (right) walks down the runway with model and fellow student Jane Zachritz, wearing Robey's "fly girls" design. Mizzou and Stephens students donated their designs to the benefit, as did professionals.
Neuner praises the event and its planners for the variety of people they bring together — students, researchers, business leaders, celebrities and more — for what has become one of the nation’s most crucial causes. “This really connects to the community,” he says.
The “Model Citizen” show also connects to a larger cause: the For All We Call Mizzou campaign. Funds raised at the event helped put the campaign over the $900 million mark. The campaign total now stands at $914 million — toward the final goal of $1 billion.
The For All We Call Mizzou campaign has yielded other impressive numbers over the past seven years: 1,500 new funded scholarships, 85 new endowed faculty positions, $448 million for new and enhanced facilities and $206 million in private funding for research.