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Models Display New Attitude As Jackson AARP Holds Goodwill Fashion Show

Smiling and dancing to the beat of Pharrell William’s infectious pop song “Happy,” fashion model Doris Tucker was a ray of sunshine as she strolled the runway in a white dress and floppy yellow hat festooned with pink flowers.

Then, as the crowd applauded enthusiastically, Doris gratefully accepted help getting down from the stage. After all, she is 83.

Doris, a  retired nurse, was one of 14 seniors — including AARP members and a few Goodwill employees — who participated in a fashion show on May 8 at the T.R. White Sportsplex in Jackson, Tenn. The show, featuring fashions purchased at Goodwill and emceed by WBBJ-TV anchor Ariana Alexa, was the highlight of a quarterly meeting of the Jackson chapter of the AARP entitled “Empowering Older Adults With A New Attitude.”

When it comes to empowerment and maintaining a positive attitude, Doris has plenty of experience. The 34-year survivor of breast cancer lives a life filled with service, volunteering with the Kirkland Cancer Center in Jackson and serving in hospitality and medical ministries at her church, and fun — swimming, snorkeling and  practicing yoga.

“I feel as if God spared me to do what I do,” she said. “I give back, and I’m so grateful that God spared my life. “

Doris also knows her way around a bargain, and she was proud that the outfit she chose to wear in the fashion show cost just $10.

“I was raised going to Goodwill,” Doris said. “I love the sales, and the fact that they give the senior citizens discounts and have good quality clothes. I’ve gotten a lot of designer stuff from Goodwill!”

Event organizer Barbara Borner said the local AARP chose to partner with Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee for the fashion show because Goodwill’s inexpensive merchandise and its mission of changing lives through education, training and employment align with goals of the AARP, such as helping seniors to lead lives of physical, mental and financial health.

By having the models shop for their clothing at Goodwill, where customers 60 years old or older always get a 10 percent discount, it demonstrated to AARP members and others that you can save money, while having fun and looking fashionable, Barbara said. And shopping on Goodwill’s Senior Wednesday — when seniors receive 20 percent off all regular-priced items — ensured the AARP members would stay within their budgets.

“Goodwill is my happy place,” Barbara said. “You meet other people, there’s music going on, there’s trendy clothes and clothes that are high-end, purses, shoes — anything you want you can find at Goodwill.”

None of the models’ outfits exceeded $25, including the three-piece gray Calvin Klein suit worn by AARP member Donald Dinwiddie. Even though the suit was brand new and still bore its original tags, Donald — a retiree with six grandchildren — paid just $10.39.

Another goal of the event was to make AARP members aware of the many ways Goodwill serves seniors and the community through its mission. Goodwill’s Vice President of Mission Advancement, Matt Gloster, explained to the audience that 5.6 percent of the roughly 30,000 people Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee served in 2018 were over the age of 55. He encouraged seniors to share their experience with young people in the community by volunteering as mentors.

Assistant Goodwill Store Manager Kim Love, who modeled a multi-print boho dress in the fashion show, spoke about some of the services especially helpful to seniors, such as job fairs held at Goodwill Career Solutions Centers on the second Tuesday of every month and  introductory computer skills classes held on the third Tuesday of every month.

Kim also explained that Goodwill frequently assists older people in finding work and told how, after raising her four children and retiring from a career in banking, she decided she wanted something fun to do that would get her out of the house. She went to Career Solutions at 1320 S. Highland Ave. in Jackson for assistance, and ended up becoming one of the more than 60 people age 50 and above working for Goodwill in Jackson, Lexington, Paris and Union City.

The fashion show met with acclaim from the participants and dozens of people in the audience. As for Doris, who once did some modeling in her youth, it was a fun trip down memory lane.

“It was deja vu all over again,” she said, laughing. “I really enjoyed it.”



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