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August 21, 2012 > A charity fashion show benefit

A charity fashion show benefit

Submitted By Arthi Rao
Photos By Courtesy of Neha and Ritam Verma

After last year's Sweet Sixteen success, Neha Verma decided to do it all over again. Her birthday party was like every girl's dream party; but, there was one additional element that made it memorable and unique, not only for her and her guests, but also for patients at the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland (CHO). It was a charity fashion show.

Last year's successful "birthday" fashion event and community support inspired Verma to stage the fundraiser again. This year, on Sunday, August 26, models will showcase new designs by Verma on the runway. The event has been set to take place at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, in order to allow patients to be part of the audience.

The whole idea originally came about from her English class, after learning about "upstanders" (those who stand up for a cause or belief). Verma realized that her sweet sixteen would be an opportunity to show that she could make a difference. Her interest in fashion design, kindled by her grandmother and mother, could finally be put to use. Last year, she was able to put together a show which raised $9,000 for Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland.

As a volunteer at the hospital and an intern at the research department this year, Verma decided to organize the fundraiser again, with a few additions. This time she created many more opportunities for people to participate in the event, whether through singing, dancing, or modeling. "I wanted to show more people that they have the talent and that they have something that they can offer," says Verma.

As a high school student, factoring in the work of the show isn't easy. Verma must design the outfits, then choose the fabrics and finally, send her designs to a tailor in India. Once the dresses are created, they are properly fitted to the models. Accessories must be finalized, and decorations prepared. After rehearsals, the show will be ready for its first and final public performance.

Along with help from the community, Verma gives special thanks to her family, the Alameda County Commission on the Status of Women Junior Commission, Ms. High School America Bianca Vierra, and Volunteer Director Ana Morales from Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland.

The charity fashion show will be held at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute on Sunday, August 26, from 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend, but due to limited seating, RSVPs are requested through There is no ticket necessary to enter, but a donation of at least $25 is required at the door. For additional questions, please email

Neha Verma is the perfect example to show that there is no age limit when it comes to helping our community. No matter what form it may come in, there is always something that can be done to make a difference. This only goes to show that it is never too early to get involved, as stated by Mahatma Gandhi, "We must be the change we wish to see."

Charity Fashion Show benefit
Sunday, August 26
1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland
$25 donation at door with prior RSVP
RSVP requested:

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