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Innovation is one way the Family & Children’s Aid (FCA) program has continued to help Connecticut residents for more than two centuries. Even after all that time, there are still new ways to spread awareness.

A first-ever fashion show, for example.

On Thursday, May 11, FCA staff and board members will be among the models walking the runway during the Spring into Fashion Show & Boutique at the Ridgefield Playhouse. The event starts at 6:30 with shopping, appetizers, provided by Bernard’s, and drinks in the Playhouse lobby, followed by the fashion show — featuring spring clothes and wardrobes from Lyn Evans Potpourri Designs — at 7:30.

Proceeds from the evening (tickets are $25) benefit FCA, a non-profit organization that offers high-quality mental health care for children and their families through numerous outpatient, community-based and group-home programs. FCA serves more than 70 Connecticut towns and has child guidance centers in Danbury, New Milford and Waterbury, along with program offices in Bridgeport, Shelton, Torrington, and New Britain.

“We are hoping that by holding the fashion show at the Ridgefield Playhouse, we can reach a new audience,” said Allison Carballo, the director of development at FCA. “We serve many children and families who are Ridgefield residents, and even as the largest children's mental health care non-profit in Western Connecticut, we sometimes find we are our own best kept secret. With our main campus just down the road in Danbury, many have seen our Child Guidance Center — more commonly known as the iconic big yellow building with the hands (painted on a side of the building) on West Street — but not many know what goes on inside.

“FCA offers programs to all ages,” continued Carballo. “Our work ranges from helping pregnant moms who may be at-risk to our senior home care program—literally serving every age.”

Although the fashions are taking center stage at the Playhouse, Carballo believes the event can also raise awareness about FCA and its programs and services. “Each model will be interviewed before the show, so when they walk the runway you can hear reasons why each of them is personally involved at FCA and how they ended up in their roles.”

Carballo’s own story is testament to FCA’s impact.

“I’ve been working in the development field for almost fifteen years with some incredible non-profits doing amazing things, but nothing compares to Family & Children’s Aid,” she said. “Knowing that everything I’m doing is benefiting a child who may be struggling with depression, or providing clothes and a teddy bear to a foster kid who has been bounced around from home to home and shows up with none of their belongings, or putting a roof over a homeless mom’s head and giving her children new warm blankets … this is all priceless.

“Some of the stories I hear about the families we work with break my heart, but hearing how our staff are able to help put the pieces back together is unreal,” Carballo said.

For more information about FCA and its programs, visit fcaweb.org. For tickets to the fashion show, visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org.