Shoe lovers flip-flop for a good cause

VERO BEACH — Costa d’Este was in full swing Thursday evening as a thoroughly cohesive mix of partiers gathered poolside for cocktails and philanthropy.  Against the gorgeous backdrop of a blustery, white capped ocean, High Healers, the new social networking group, formed by Maggie Creelman, Heidi Hartline, Gail Lulley and Danielle Stewart, mingled with Junior Leaguers, who were enjoying a kick-off party for the upcoming season.  Attendees of both groups work together throughout the year to support local non-profit organizations, making it a particularly homogenous blend. Calling it a free social club for fantastic women who love shoes and charity, organizers of High Healers stated that 100% of funds raised will benefit local women and children based organizations.  Requesting an affordable $25 donation, which goes straight to the charity of the evening, the concept of “Coming Together for the Love of Shoes and High Healin’,” was formed as a creatively simple approach to fundraising.

“There are a lot of women in Vero who love shoes.  But it’s a little vain to celebrate a love for shoes, so we decided to get together and party for a charity,” explained Maggie Creelman as she addressed the group.

Donations from this first party were given to the Women’s Refuge, in an effort to assist them in meeting a $25,000 matching grant offered by the Johns Island Foundation.  Women’s Refuge, a residential program for women, also offers support groups and counseling services for individuals, marriages and families.

“We plan to hold four or five events a year; if we don’t get too burned out,” said Gail Lully, who was credited by the others for the concept.  “There is nothing to join, and there is no fee.  We are just the party planners.”

Politicians may be criticized for flip-flopping, but these ladies embraced it with a passion with their Falling out of Flip-Flops into Fall theme.   Lully was sporting peacock adorned flip-flops, while Creelman took a back-to-school approach. Oversized crayons were tied to her flip-flops with big ribbons.

Contest judges Baerbel O’Haire and Stephen Stewart were unanimous that the shoe-in for the grand prize was flip-flop aficionado Susan Chenault whose belt was festooned with 10 different styles, including several Kinos and even one she received after donating to the Blood Bank.

“I have more, but this was the biggest belt I have,” said Chenault.  When asked how she chose these particular ones, she laughed and said, “These are the cleanest ones; several pairs did not make the cut.”

“We sent out invitations all over town,” said an enthusiastic Heidi Hartline.  “But what we’re trying to do is to make it so well known, that we won’t even need invitations.  We want these to be all inclusive; everyone is invited.”

Vero’s up and coming young powerhouse of Junior Leaguers were gearing up for another jammed-packed year filled with Community Impact Projects.

“It’s a social gathering before we begin our busy year; doing good things for women and children,” explained Angela Astrup.

It was a great way for potential new members to meet existing members in an informal setting and learn a little more about the various projects and committees.   Their latest undertaking is the implementation of the Whole Child Project, a computer program to match families with community services based on their needs.

The Junior League is also in the process of planning their two major fundraising events.   Oktoberfest, scheduled for October 16, will oompah over to Pointe West this year and lovely ladies in hats will once again usher in visitors to the always popular Tour of Homes in March.

The next High Healin’ gathering, scheduled for Thursday, October 21 at STAX Restaurant, will be a “High Healin’ Happy Hour for Happy Kids” to benefit Child Care Resources.  Polish up your favorite stilettos and join in the fun with the Best in Shoe – High Heels’ walk-off.  {igallery 255}

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