Detroit–World’s Newest Fashion Capital?

by LP Green, II

Photo caption: Tara Hayslett models with cousin Gerald Hayslett at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center (MORC) Kohl’s Caregiver Fashion Show. She is one of some 8,000 caregivers in the MORC system that support 5,000 people with disabilities living in homes in the community. The fashion show is part of the 32nd Annual MORC Caregiver Appreciation Day, believed to be the largest and longest running appreciation day of its kind in the country.

Widely recognized as the Motor City and Motown for its cars and music, Detroit’s notoriety may be increasing in the fashion world too.  Nearly 1,000 caregivers, families, community leaders and news media from Southeastern Michigan will attend what will be not only the Detroit area’s biggest caregiver appreciation day but its biggest fashion show as well.  The 32nd Annual Macomb-Oakland Regional Center (MORC) Caregiver Appreciation Day and MORC Kohl’s Caregiver Fashion Show will be on Thursday, May 15, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Palazzo Grande Banquet Center, 54660 Van Dyke Avenue, in Shelby Township, Michigan.

“We are so excited for the 15th because this will be our version, Detroit’s version, of the great fashion shows that take place in Paris and Milan every year,” said MORC’s executive director Gerald Provencal about the MORC Kohl’s Caregiver Fashion Show where 100 caregivers and people with disabilities model together as part of the day to honor caregivers.  “Our models aren’t as expensive but they are just as beautiful and elegant as they stroll down the catwalk wearing the latest and coolest styles of the year.”

The MORC Kohl’s Caregiver Fashion Show is not a typical show because of its size, 100 models and nearly 1,000 in the audience, but for many other reasons too.

“Both the huge audience AND the models cheering and screaming their guts out makes our show stand out from dead-pan models and sedate crowds at major fashion shows,” added Maggie Lewis, organizer of Kohl’s Cares for Kids in Rochester Hills.  Last year’s cheering is on YouTube at (  Unlike most models, MORC models get to select their own clothes at a department store.  Kohl’s, the sponsor for the seventh year, donated $15,000 in clothes that models get to keep after the show.

While the event is sold out, some tickets may become available if there are cancellations prior to the event at (248) 276-8109.  Sponsors and donors can still contribute by calling (586) 263-8757.

“The biggest difference in our fashion show is that being in the limelight, being noticed, is very meaningful for our people with disabilities–a rare opportunity for many who have been often overlooked, whether locked away for years in institutions or simply not included in mainstream American life, ” stated Sue Gipperich, MORC supports coordination supervisor and host of the event.  “And it’s significant for caregivers, too, to be recognized, for they themselves are often overlooked, taken for granted and underpaid.”

The MORC Caregiver Appreciation Day, at 32 years, is believed to be the longest-running and largest appreciation day in the country, honoring the some 8,000 caregivers employed by the MORC system of 100 nonprofits, and thousands of family caregivers.  They all support MORC’s 5,000 people with disabilities.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Macomb County Sheriff Tony Wickersham and the executive director of The Arc of Macomb County, Lisa Lepine, will help honor caregivers.  MORC will recognize caregivers with the Dave Coulier Full House Award, Colleen Brayton Legacy Award and the MORC Angels Awards, sponsored by Dr. Arthur Woehrlen, a dentist in Warren.  Caregivers receiving Angel Awards include:  Debe-Elwell Waite, Grand Blanc; Barbara Coleman, Roseville; Maria Rendon, Waterford; Paquetta Ferguson, Detroit; Anne Rivard, Royal Oak; Casondra Barrett, Clarkston; Ilene Webb, West Bloomfield; Bruce Pillar, Ortonville; Jocoyia Dixon; Detroit; Ilea Lyons, Waterford; and John Pepera, Westland.

The Dave Coulier Full House Award will recognize all nine caregivers from a group home in Sterling Heights who learned how to operate a dialysis machine so a resident can remain at home rather than move to a facility.

MORC, known internationally for helping close all 12 institutions for people with disabilities in Michigan, has helped 54 nations close institutions and develop homes in the community.

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