- Two ladies deeply committed to their community and helping others joined forces on Thursday, February 4, to bring their first Swimsuit Show benefit to the Southampton Publick House
. Whitney Knowlton
of the Last Chance Animal Rescue
Fund (LCARF) and Laraine Gordon
of Time For Teens (TFT) are personal friends who understood that the needs for their organizations blended together nicely for the benefit of both teens and animals.
Barbara Mattera of Evian (which sponsored the evening) with Southampton Publick House owner Don Sullivan who donated the space for the evening's event.
Gordon is a psychotherapist whose practice is primarily focused on teens between the ages of 12 and 19 who have suffered the loss of a loved one. "This is an age group that sometimes gets overlooked in the grief processs. Many kids in this age group are shy, maybe uncomfortable sharing their feelings, and may already be encountering difficulties with the natural growing and maturing process, and then compounded by the loss of a loved one - a parent, sibling, friend, teacher, mentor, whoever - can make life and the grieving process incredibly more difficult for them" says Gordon. She wanted to create an additional environment where activities outside the normal realm of traditional therapy were offered.
Therefore, she founded Time For Teens, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing teenagers with a sensitive, caring, and creative environment for healing. The first "bereavement retreat" was held last year at the Timothy Hill Ranch and provided this age group the opportunity to be just what they are - teenagers. The swimsuit fashion show held on Thursday raised funds for the second annual retreat currently scheduled to be held August 4, also at the Timothy Hill Ranch.
Swimsuit by Sunrise Surf Shop on one of the many models who participated - introduced by John Govia who kept the show running smoothly.
An actress as well, Gordon says "The retreat
allows for outdoor activities, including interaction with animals, role-playing, healing activities and the opportunity for the kids to be in a more relaxed environment with other kids who are suffering through a loss as well, and also the companionship and friendships that can sometimes result when one shares their feelings with their own peers."
Gordon works with fellow therapists Nick Wolff
and Jude Treder-Wolff
(who is also a comedian and opened Thursday's event with a hysterical set that engaged the audience and had everyone laughing). Gordon has offices in both Southampton and Smithtown.
Additionally, Gordon commented "These kids are offered a 'wellness center' and other outlets for their grief, but what we really want them to understand is that they are not forgotten and we will give them the benefit of time to heal."
Offering her thanks to everyone involved with Thursday's event, Gordon relayed "The outpouring of generosity, time and help with this event has been unbelievable - from the Publick House; to Mayor Epley; the models; Sunrise Surf Shop and Margaret Donohoe
for providing the swimsuits and the surfboard; John Govia
(who acted as MC); my assistant, Justina Fargiano
; my husband, Tom Holdsworth
(who is President TFT); friends, co-workers; Hampton Tanning Salon
; the businesses that donated items for the silent auction and raffle, Grandstand Sports
- everyone has been truly wonderful - and these proceeds will go towards creating a second annual bereavement retreat for these East End teens."
Marissa Epley (who won a surfboard!), Marianne Epley, Val Abbate and Carolyn Giugliano cheered on the mayor and other models.
, Director of LCARF and her team of volunteers are as equally committed to their goals. LCARF is a charitable, volunteer run, non-for profit organization that rescues animals from high "KILL" facilities located in the south. They underwrite the cost of relocating the animals (mostly dogs) to foster homes in the hopes of finding them a permanent or "Forever" home. In their first year they have rescued more than 500 dogs and placed them with loving families. "Without LCARF these healthy, beautiful, innocent animals would not get the chance at living the life they deserve," said Knowlton. Proceeds from Thursday's event will go to LCARF to support their core mission of saving animals.
DJ Dory provided great music for the models and kept the crowd dancing after the show.
Knowlton too expressed her appreciation to all for their assistance with Thursday's evening, and revealed "Adoptions here are as easy as ever, but trying to rescue and transport the animals here before they are killed is becoming more and more expensive. Last week a bunch of us took $70 each from our wallets just to have enough to give the driver to go down and bring back animals. I am spending almost 80 percent of my time on this and it just needs more and more effort."
Revealing an additional horrible situation encountered recently, Knowlton explained "Due to the unusual cold weather in the south this winter, and the fact that there is no heat indoors at these facilities, and many times the cages are located outdoors with concrete floors, the cages are sprayed with water to clean them, and the water is freezing on the concrete floors entrapping the paws of many of the dogs, particularly the puppies - just horrifying."
Knowlton, when thanking all those in attendance at Thursday's event, was both poignant and brief in her remarks - "Thank you all from my heart - thank you for being here and thank you for caring."
To read more about LCARF, and Hamptons.com interview with Knowlton from this past December, click here: www.hamptons.com/Out-And-About/Within-The-Hedges/9538/Last-Chance-Animal-Rescue-Fund-Is-A-Dogs-Angel.html
The Models And Fashions
The models kept the show fun.
Each model made two to three trips down the runway sporting the beautiful, sexy, age appropriate and fun fashions provided by Sunrise Surf Shop
• 'Just' Alison
: Proa Yellow bikini with rhinestone embellishments; LuBerry string bikini charteuse with brown reversible suit fringe detail on bikini top; Purple and pink Leopard print bikini by Billabong.
• Shay Berrocal
: Pink and white striped Lost bikini; Proa bandeau bikini; Rusty multi-colored Zebra striped bikini.
• Gabriella Caspi
: Silver Vitamin A Bikini; Graffiti print Rusty bikini; Geometric bikini by Lost.
• Billy Crowley
: Quicksilver black and red board shorts; Black, white and red checkerboard Lost board shorts; Black, blue, green and white checkerboard board shorts by Lost; Black, blue, green and white checkerboard board shorts by Lost.
• Tiffany Crowley
: Multi-colored Roxy dress.
• Nevah Crowley
: The evening's youngest model wearing purple Raisins one piece.
• Christina Curcio
: Guess one piece with French cut in Paint Splash; Guess snakeskin bikini with Tube Flops by Sanuk; Guess snakeskin bikini with Tube Flops by Sanuk; BillaBong black ruffle bikini with silver accents; Lost shaded floral print bikini.
Gals and Guys strutted down the runway.
• Mark Epley
: Honolulu board shorts in orange and yellow checkerboard with a black Quicksilver tee-shirt and Quicksilver "El Gringo" hat; Quicksilver Edition board short in blue with green flowers, Quicksilver Comfort Fit "Pineapple Beach" shirt with Quicksilver Blues Brothers hat.
• Jackie Fansler
: Purple Ella Moss Isla bikini; Black and white floral print Raisins bikini; Hurley purple bandeau bathing suit.
• Christine Laureano
: Leilanni brown and white floral bikini with hoops; Leilanni tankini swimsuit (brown and white) with a brown sarong; Leilanni one piece green and yellow swimsuit.
• Andres Londono
: Lost lifeguard red trunk; Quicksilver white and blue trunk; Lost black and white pinstripe trunk.
• Kim McGovern
: Geometric ruffle bikini by Raisins with Tube Flops by Sanuk; Brown and white Vitamin A bikini with gold accents; Chartreuse with gold acccents bikini by Vitamin A.
• Jamie Nelan
: Quicksilver board shorts (brown and blue); Quicksilver board shorts (black and white); Billabong board shorts (black, green and blue).
The silent auction items included autographed sports photos, signed footballs, golf bags, football helmuts, game tickets and much more.
• Rob Simonson
: Quicksilver plaid board shorts with blue Quicksilver tee-shirt; Quicksilver diamond patterned board shorts with Quicksilver edition light blue tee-shirt; Billabong blue/green and yellow board shorts and Quicksilver navy blue tee-shirt with surfboards.
• Stacy Springer
: BillaBong white with gold floral threading bathing suit and Zuliana white sarong; Leilanni white and black patterened tankini; Guess Python strapless bandeau bathing suit with Zuliana sarong.
Mayor Mark Epley grabbed a sand chair and stogie to sit on the runway at the conclusion of the fashion show.
• Rachel Thompson
: Leilani pink hibiscus print bikini with gold accents; Green and white tie-die-cut one piece by Raisins; Pink, gold and white Guess bandeau bikini.
Given current economic conditions and the sometimes difficult undertaking of holding a fundraiser during the winter months in the Hamptons, the turnout for these ladies and their endeavors was spectacular. While Don Sullivan
, owner of the Southampton Publick House
donated the space; and Barbara Mattera
with Evian sponsored the event, and the tremendous humor and charm provided by John Govia
as MC the stage was set for a fun and fashionable evening.
The models strutted the runway with grace, sexiness, and laughter attired in some great looking swimsuits, sandals and sunglasses - many of these swimsuits will and should be seen on the beaches this summer! The ladies and gents modeling the swimsuits also modeled some toned, healthy and eye-popping physiques which had many in attendance speed-dialing their gym to verify business hours and perhaps the availability of a few personal trainers! A few in the audience could be seen sucking in their stomachs and passing on that extra delicious treat passed around by the congenial staff of the Publick House.
Most of the gang at the conclusion of the fashion show.
This was an enjoyable evening that brought together supporters of both of these wonderful organizations that offer action, safety and caring to young teens and dogs - perhaps a natural fit to begin with. Given the inherent sadness of the missions that both Knowlton and Gordon have undertaken, it is a true testament that the kindness and goodness bestowed by them on others should result in an outpouring from the community to help raise funds for both of these most worthy organizations. Well done ladies and thanks to all who participated in such a successful evening.
For more information on LCARF call Michelle Neufeld at 631-903-9215, or go to www.lcarf.org
. Donations may also be mailed to: Donations, 61 Shore Road, Southampton, NY 11968.
For more information on TFT call Laraine Gordon at 631-338-7258, or go to www.time4teens.org
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.