The Betsy Young Memorial Fund is hosting a community fashion show July 18 in the Senior Center at the Ocean City Community Center to raise money for its nonprofit and to support local businesses in their post-Hurricane Sandy recovery.
Local businesses' apparel will be showcased in the fashion show, including The Spot by Jilly's, Cloud 9, Bangles and Bows, and many more. The models will be local residents, including a recent Ocean City High School graduate, four current OCHS students, two moms and eight children.
"I know the community is going to love this," said Amanda (Thomas) Cimpeanu, the executive director of the Betsy Young Memorial Fund and the event's organizer. "We're bringing in professional staging and lighting. It's going to be a lot of fun."
The Betsy Young Memorial Fund was created in October 2011 in memory of beloved, longtime Ocean City Intermediate School instrumental music teacher Betsy Young, who died of glioblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor, in August 2011. The mission of the fund is to raise scholarship money for local students pursing a career in the arts, following with Young's passion.
Cimpeanu, who plays the flute, was one of Young's former middle school students.
"Betsy was my flute teacher and my mentor," Cimpeanu said. "She was one of those teachers that any school district would want to have. Teaching wasn't her job. It was her life. She was there for her students 24/7."
Cimpeanu lost touch with Young for a few years and when she found out Young has been diagnosed with glioblastoma, she was devastated. She and another of Young's former students, who wishes to remain anonymous, decided to organize a benefit dinner for the Young family to help with medical expenses. That event raised $4,000 and was the "unofficial start" of the Betsy Young Memorial Fund.
"I kind of just put a board together after that and started organizing events," Cimpeanu said. Later, the nonprofit became official. Board members include Ginni Szczepanski, a retired Ocean City Intermediate School math teacher and one of Young's former colleagues, Debbie Grau, one of Young's childhood friends, and Debbie's daughter Amanda Grau, who was inspired by Betsy to play the drums.
In its first year, the Betsy Young Memorial Fund raised $800, which was divided and presented as scholarships to two Ocean City High School students at the end of the 2011-12 school year. This past year, its goal was $1,500, but the group raised $2,000, which was divided to benefit two OCHS students.
The proceeds of the July 18 fashion show will go towards the 2013-14 scholarships. This year's goal is $3,000 to be divided three ways.
Cimpeanu said running a nonprofit is hard work, but she does it all for Young.
"The amount of time and energy the board and I put into making these events all that they are is exactly what Betsy would have put into it," she said. "She always put 120 percent into everything she did, so that's what we do."
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
What: Betsy Young Memorial Fund Fashion Show
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18
Where: Ocean City Senior Center, located in the Ocean City Community Center, 1735 Simpson Ave., Ocean City
Cost: $15 at the door. All proceeds benefit the fund. A dessert reception will follow the fashion show.
More info: To learn more about the fund, visit betsyyoungmemorialfund.org/