Catwalk features special needs fashionistas, first responders

Developmental Pathways Fashion Show was first held in 2015

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Gracie Armstrong is a people person, her mother said, which explains the 3-1/2-year-old's prowess on the catwalk of the Developmental Pathways Fashion Show at the Park Meadows Mall Aug. 14.

“This is right up her alley,” her mother, Jennifer, said. “Anytime she has an excuse to get dressed up, she's all about it.”

Armstrong was the first to strut on stage. She was accompanied by Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock as they both waved to the crowd at the end of the catwalk.

The fifth annual Developmental Pathways Fashion Show at the Park Meadows mall gave a stage to kids and adults with developmental disabilities, who strutted the catwalk in personalized outfits donated by Macy's. The fashion show is an event Developmental Pathways and the mall have hosted each year since 2015 to give those with developmental disabilities the chance to shine onstage in front of a crowd.

The stage was open for Douglas or Arapahoe county residents with a developmental disability, giving local aspiring models the chance to get on stage in front of their community.

“It's a really, really fun event and I think it brings a lot of high energy for the kids,” said Gillian Kennedy, director of philanthropy at Developmental Pathways. “You see the joy on everyone's faces when they're up there and it really makes you feel good. It really, really does.”

The supermodels were accompanied by local first responders from South Metro Fire Rescue, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Lone Tree Police Department. The crowd surrounding the stage grew larger as the show commenced, catching the eye of passersby who whistled and hollered as the models gave a vogue look or pose.

Members of the Denver Junior League also helped facilitate the event.

“Our CEO a few years back and the CEO of Park Meadows had this brainchild to put on this event and bring together the community, get our name out there and generate awareness, but more so to give a different face of what we're doing,” said Natalie Coulter, communications manager for Developmental Pathways. “I think it's great to incorporate first responders, too, because it's two different sides of folks who are in public service but in different spheres.”

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