More Than a Village… A Very Special Family | A Blog Artcile from Autism Project


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More Than a Village… A Very Special Family - 10/24/13

Last night I was honored to be a part of a finale to one of the finest shows in Rhode Island that benefits the Autism Project’s summer camp. For the last eight years a family of supporters came together for the annual Catwalk to Campground to enjoy the show and lend support so children and teens with an autism spectrum disorder could enjoy a week at our specialized program Camp WANNAGOAGAIN!

Over the years the Catwalk family grew to include so many individuals from different talents and backgrounds. This is because Catwalk to Campground isn’t just a fashion show; rather it is a celebration of the best and the brightest of our local art, music and fashion communities joining together with family, friends, colleagues and supporters. Each year brought new surprises and kept the audience talking about the event all year. Some of the highlights include the wonderfully entertaining Good Fellas for Autism, the magic of the living statues from TEN31, local musicians and the sparkle of Miss Rhode Island USA  beauty queens to name a few.

We all know this enormous production did not just appear. Catwalk to Campground was created and produced by Olga Hawwa, one of RI’s leading Makeup Artists and Estheticians. She is also the aunt of a child who attends our camp. Each year Olga, her sister Anita Chamoun and many volunteers worked countless hours planning the show, securing talent, rehearsing, and getting corporate and individual sponsorships. With Olga’s leadership the event grew each year and this year a record 111 youth attended camp.

The lights have dimmed on Catwalk, but Olga’s passion for Camp continues as she contemplates what’s next. Ideas are developing for support of our Camp Endowment to ensure children, teens and now young adults with an ASD will have a safe, fun and enriching camp to attend for years to come.

Thank you Olga. Your passion, talent and leadership truly made a difference for so many. I am forever grateful for your generosity and commitment to our mission and the families we serve.

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