The second annual Breaking Barriers Fashion Show was held at the Morris Inn on Wednesday night. The show featured members of Best Buddies, the Special Olympics, Special Friends and Super Sibs to simultaneously exemplify the work of each group and encourage others to join, as well as “break down the barriers for the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and help to spread awareness in the South Bend community,” according to the Notre Dame events calendar.“The goal of this fashion show is first and foremost to display the beauty of friendship and convey the dignity and worth of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities,” the description read.“It is different from other fashion shows because of the mission of the models,” freshman Meghan Freeman, a volunteer for the show, said. “This fashion show strives to embrace our differences and celebrate the bonds and friendships that have formed because of them. Not only that, but it also aims to raise money for future activities so that the benefits of the fashion show will last even after the last walk.”Freeman said the money raised from the fashion show will be used to benefit LOGAN, which funds student initiatives for the Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and Special Friends and Special Sibs clubs in the area.Senior Alexis Pala has been a Buddy and student researcher within Best Buddies since her freshman year and served as the main coordinator for the show.“Although significant progress has been made in recent years, people with intellectual disabilities continue to be segregated globally,” Pala said. “All the clubs in the show work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in various capacities to highlight the things that they love and reveal their true potentials. With this show we want to celebrate those we work with and show everyone the relationships that we have formed and the value we bring to each others lives.”She said that the show “isn’t only about the clothes we are wearing, but the beauty of those wearing them.”According to Pala, the idea for the show was conceived after her experiences working on a similar fashion show with Best Buddies in Madrid, Spain.“We borrowed the name ‘Breaking Barriers’ from the United Nations’ campaign “breaking down barriers to full inclusion” that they used for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities,” she said.The show was brought to Notre Dame for the first time last year, when it was held in Legends Nightclub as part of Spread the Word to End the Word Day. Pala noted that this year is unique in its focus on the collaboration between the South Bend community and Notre Dame clubs.This year’s show involved an immense amount of preparation, including reaching out to potential donors, Freeman said. Clothing had to be secured for all ages and sexes through donations from Ali Boutique, Little Princess Treasures, and Macy’s.Sorella, a local boutique, was “extremely helpful and enthusiastic, and the owner worked to make sure that every buddy pair had an outfit that was perfect for them,” Freeman said.Organizers also had to secure help from Notre Dame’s University Hair Stylists to help, as well as, Chipotle and other local establishments for gift bags. The organizers also recruited volunteers to emcee, write short bios to be read during participants’ walks and help to complete various tasks.The show was emceed by one of Notre Dame’s leprechauns, Mitch Meersman, and featured a slideshow displaying each group participating in various activities from the past year. Before the show began, the night opened with a performance by the Humor Artists, a video combatting “Ableism” that addressed stigmas surrounding mental disabilities and a performance by the Pom Squad.Models walked out alongside their respective Buddies, each of whom was a Notre Dame student, as Meersman read models’ brief bios and described the outfits worn. Speeches from organizers and performances from Notre Dame a cappella groups Halftime and the Undertones were interspersed throughout the show. The night ended with all of the models and their buddies joining in to sing Notre Dame’s alma mater.“We are looking to gain more popularity and become an event that people want to come back to every year,” Freeman said. “At the end of the day, we hope to raise money to sponsor future events, and we just want everyone to have fun.”Tags: best buddies, Breaking Barriers, fashion show, LOGAN, Special Olympics, Super Sibs
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York It’s a rainy Saturday. The Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale is getting busy. I walk a few doors down on Main Street to Empire Gaming, a new comic book store. Someone at the front desk points to a small room.There’s a man at one end with an army of miniature characters on the table in front of him, some maps, all sorts of books filled with numbers and charts and a chainmail bag full of dice—6 sided, 20-sided, all different colors and shapes. He’s my dungeon master and he’s been one since 1979. He’s about to help me enter the world of the table-top role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.“You’ve all been hired by the good king of Benchleydale to put a stop to the rampaging giants who’ve torn the land of men asunder,” he tells me. “Your mission: Infiltrate the Hill Giant Fortress, exterminate the giants and their allies, find out why they’ve become militant, and find out who (or what) is behind all this mayhem.”But before I depart on this noble journey I have to create my D&D persona—Demetria the Spell Caster.“Does your character wear a hooded cloak, or a robe perhaps?” says my DM. “If so, what color? Let your imagination run wild.”“I’ll take a purple hooded cloak!” I answer.Now it’s time to roll the dice and equip myself for the journey ahead. My DM makes some recommendations.“But what would I need 50 feet of rope for?” I ask him.“Perhaps you’re in a cave and you need something to scale the wall.”“Can I have a pony?”“Yes, you can have a pony. But remember that pony has to eat.”Sweet.Now I have to bring my character to life in the form of a 1.5-inch pewter miniature. I search the Internet till I find one that looks like me. A few days later it arrives, a little silver statue I have to turn into Demetria. I put a layer of primer on it, then some color. Brown for the staff she holds in her left hand and blue for the crystal ball she holds in her right. Hair: brown. Hooded cloak: purple. A final layer of acrylic glaze and she’s good to go.I plan to pick up a player’s handbook, but before I know it, Sunday comes around and it’s game time.I walk past The Nutty Irishman again, wonder if I should do a few shots first, then continue on to Empire Gaming, where my Dungeon Master sits behind a cardboard wall. There are 11 others with me—Cidhella the Barbarian, Dusk the Assassin, Lauranna the Thief, Bert the Bard, to name a few—seated around the table. In front of us is a hand-drawn map of Benchleydale, a Tolkien-esque land under attack.Celtic music is playing low in the background. We all place our miniature selves in front of us and a can of Pringles begins circulating the room. We trade items. As a spellcaster I cannot use weapons or certain instruments. Unfortunately I have a bunch of them so I make a trade. An instrument of the Bards for a potion of clairvoyance and a potion or clairaudience.I really wish I read the handbook.We pick our first stop on the map—a refugee camp of survivors. We listen to their stories as relayed to us by the DM. We continue to the town of Snowbite, where trolls attack us. Two mini trolls are put on the table. It’s time for battle. Fighters up front. Magic users in the back.“Does anyone have any spells we can use first?” someone asks. “I have burning hands!” shouts another. With that, she gestures with her hands and the DM rolls the dice, to determine the success of the attack.“You hit him,” he says. “Roll again.”She rolls a good number. The troll is weakened. Someone else has a flask of oil. He rubs it on the imaginary troll’s head and someone else sets it on fire.God, I wish I read the handbook.“The troll is dead,” says the Dungeon Master. The others are soon vanquished in similar fashion.We move farther along the map, and find a sea serpent in Loot Lake, guarding hundreds of treasure chests at the bottom. We start retrieving them. Lauranna the Thief cracks one open with a roll of the dice and finds gems inside. She attempts to open the second but it has a trap. She rolls to deactivate the trap. It doesn’t work. She is stuck by a poison needle.Thankfully, Burt the Bard, a few feet away, has a Slow Poison spell to hamper the effects. Lauranna rolls the dice to see how sick she is. The DM tells her she won’t make it through the night.We move on to a fishing village to find an antidote to cure her. I, Demetria, am the spokesperson. I go to one of the villagers and ask, through the DM, if there is a healer around town. He asks me what happened and he wants details.Do I give him details?“I don’t know if I should be telling you that—are you bad or good?” I ask, breaking character. We make up a story, which I fumble a little bit. I said Lauranna was hurt by poisonous trolls. I was supposed to say she was hurt by trolls with poisonous arrows. There is no such thing as poisonous trolls. The DM, speaking as the villager, questions my answer. Then another member of our party comes to my rescue.“I jump up and hold a knife to his throat and say, ‘Get me a doctor!’” yells Odin, sitting across from me.I really, really need that handbook.We get the antidote, and return to the lake. We now have a lobster claw apparatus to pick the chests out of the water and crush them open to avoid traps. Some contain body parts of a dead general. We need to find out what happened to him.Luckily, we have someone with a Reanimate the Dead spell on hand. The general comes to life and speaks through the DM. He was killed by someone named Dr. Pain for disobeying orders. We’re getting closer.It’s now time to find the evil doctor who the general tells us is in the Hell Giant Fortress. We get on our way, but the session comes to a close. We’ve played a solid four hours and moved about six inches on the map, but the journey isn’t over.“We meet again in two weeks,” says the DM.But for now the imaginary world disappears and everyone leaves, scattering in different directions, going back to the land of mere mortals.I stepped onto the street and wondered if I actually did have those shots, after all. And when I got home, I ordered that handbook.