Opportunity Village fete blooms just fine indoors


Inclement weather forced Opportunity Village’s spring garden party indoors, but did not dampen the enthusiasm of guests who support the organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities.

The April 26 luncheon and fashion show originally was scheduled at the Paradise Valley home formerly owned by boxer Mike Tyson, but was moved to the multipurpose room at Opportunity Village’s Engelstad Campus.

More than 200 guests shopped the numerous local boutique kiosks that circled the room as they purchased tickets for a chance to win jewelry, handbags and entertainment tickets. The raffle featured a diamond, white and rose pendant on an 18-karat white gold chain from MJ Christensen Jewelers.

For the luncheon and fashion show, guests moved to an adjoining room where bright pink tables with hatbox centerpieces were set in front of the stage. Eva Paulussen’s Wild Truffles Caterers provided the meal.

Mistress of ceremonies Michelle Mortensen, consumer reporter for KLAS-TV, Channel 8, spoke about Opportunity Village’s work helping people who have significant intellectual disabilities and their families. The programs help people improve their lives.

For 60 years, Opportunity Village has set the standard for success among not-for-profit organizations. Guests learned that to ensure this success and respect continues, Opportunity Village recently created the It Girls, a volunteer group of “dynamic women” that will participate in the organization’s fundraisers as well as organize and take part in other important events.

The afternoon continued with the fashion show featuring Opportunity Village clients wearing ensembles from the Opportunity Village Thrift Store. The 13 models were escorted across the stage and down the steps into the audience by members of UNLV’s Army ROTC.

Guests were given fans to hold up to bid on clothing the girls modeled. The first fan raised allowed the girls to go home with her outfit. Each additional fan that was raised will support the Madi Peck Endowment at Opportunity Village.

Linda Smith, whose name is synonymous with Opportunity Village and serves as development director, spoke about plans to build two residential villages in Southern Nevada to accommodate clients who outlive their parents or caregivers.

Smith and luncheon chairwoman Melinda Brown also talked about raising a handicapped child, which gave them strength to become activists for the disabled.

The spring event’s attendees included Marsala Rypka, Kimberly Friedmutter, Brenda Hengel, Darlene Miller, Lynn Rosencrantz, Carol Sheehan, Jill and Mike Bell, Cary Harned, Donna Cutler, Sherry Walker, Alexander Walker, Diane Lemon, Karri Helms, Judy Reich, Vicky Haapala, Shea Phillips, Mario Joyner, Nancy Alexander, Barb and Randy Boesch, Lucy Stewart, Carol Troesh, Marsha Slotten and state Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas.