PALMDALE – Friends of the Gentle Barn raised more than $2,300 Friday evening for a non-profit organization that helps abused and neglected farm animals.
About 50 people showed up to the Hilton Garden Inn in Palmdale to enjoy a cocktail hour, silent auction and fashion show for The Gentle Barn.
“I had a blast,” said Adriana Cacho. “The fashion show was great and it was very well put together.”
Sunny Thompson, along with many others in the crowd, said she loved the event.
Attendees mingled during cocktail hour and bid on items such as William Edwards Photography sessions, tickets to an L.A. Dodgers game, Double D cupcakes gift basket, Kenneth Cole handbags, and an autographed Oakland Raiders football.
Models then walked the runway showcasing rehabilitated classic looks done by celebrity stylist Kelly Johnson.
Christina Devin said she thought “the fashion show was awesome,” and that it was cool to see the clothes for the modern versions of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
After the fashion show Michelle Robertson, a representative for the non-profit organization, spoke about The Gentle Barn and what they do.
The Gentle Barn takes in animals that have no home, and they bring in groups of people to help socialize the animals, who have been abused and neglected in their previous environments, she said.
The founder, Ellie Laks, originally went to school for special education, but her passion was always animals, Robertson said. Seeing how often abused kids needed something other than traditional therapy, and recognizing how healing animals can be, Laks decided to combine the two.
The children can see the animals who have overcome the same type of problem they’ve had to deal with, and see the “light at the end of tunnel” for their own lives, Robertson said.
“She thought ‘if it can help me, it can help thousands of children,’” Robertson said.
The event was part of a project for an Antelope Valley College class, where the students were assigned to choose a charity and organize a real fundraiser for it.
“One thing I was telling a colleague is that it is so great to see it come together,” said Kenneth Lee, Comms 109 teacher. “The assignment really opens up creatively what needs to be done in the community, and brings out the interconnection of interests in what they want to do.”
Lee said his students are a pretty creative bunch in their fundraiser ideas. Out of this project has come a hip hop concert, fashion events, car washes and bake sales, he said.
“More often than not, I’m surprised and happy with the results,” Lee said. “For the most part my students really embrace it.”
Through the assignment, the students are helping the community and they get to see the product of their work, he said.
Robertson said she was blown away that the event was the result of a class project.
“I think this is amazing,” she said. “I don’t think anyone expected this.”
Because The Gentle Barn runs completely off donations, Robertson said she is grateful to The Friends of the Gentle Barn for doing this event.
“The fact that they chose The Gentle Barn out of all the rescues out there shows what they’re really in it for,” Robertson said.
The Gentle Barn just did a rescue of about 50 animals from a backyard butcher, and the money from events like this will help pay for vet bills, as well as help to get even more animals rescued, Robertson said.
Winners for the silent auction and raffle tickets were announced at the end of the night.
Megan Lemos, one of the students in the group, said the event was a success despite not having reached their goal of $5,000.
She is one of the students still interested in raising money for The Gentle Barn, and she said she hopes this will be the first of many annual fundraisers.