SEBRING — Ridge Area Arc held their annual ‘Heels that Heal’ gala on July 17 at the Island View Restaurant in Sun ‘N Lake. Women and men dressed up in their finest.

Ladies wore high heels of every color and style for the event. Everything from sparkly sandals to elaborate designs with diamond-like sequins was on display.

“This is one of our favorite events all year,” said Kathleen Border CEO. “It’s like a girl’s night out on steroids!

“Lots of inspirational and powerful women are doing great things in our community and we want to honor them. This event raises money for the women at Arc. This year, I’m impressed that so many men attended to support these strong women.”

Arc is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve and advocate for individuals with developmental and other disabilities so they may have the opportunity to choose and realize their goals.

The title sponsor was Dr. Paul Horton, DMD. “It’s an honor to sponsor this event. It’s all about honoring women like my wife Carla. We want to give back to the community.”

“I’m honored to be on the Board of Arc,” said Carla Horton. “It’s a great event!”

Rebeca Rivera was a table sponsor, sitting with Maria Rivera and Sandi Laufer. Maria has been with Arc for over 22 years.

Friends Millie Grimes and Roxie McMillon were enjoying themselves. Louis Sumbry, one of the men attending, looked great dressed up in his tuxedo.

This event brings friends, old and new, together to celebrate a common goal. This is a community of strong professional women who are here this evening to support, encourage and inspire each other.

One of Arc’s strongest male supporters is Rev. George Miller of Emanuel United Church of Christ. He was sporting blue high heels and matching nail polish.

“I spent the last few months practicing to walk in these shoes. It was okay on the carpet, but you tend to sink in the grass!”

Prior to the speakers, there was a very nice dinner. Choices were filet mignon or chicken picata.

The first speaker was Sarah Beth Rogers. She is the Manager at the Children’s Advocacy Center.

“My friends supported me with this life-changing career opportunity. It’s been very hard to see the victimization of children, but with the Holy Spirit within me, I know I can do anything. I had no idea what I would experience.

“It’s okay to choose a path that will break your heart, as long as you have God at your side. He gives me the tools, wisdom to move forward.”

Erica White, with the Highlands News Sun, sang several inspirational songs. Her selections were, ‘I Believe’ and ‘I Hope You Dance’.’

Brittney Fann is the founder and Executive Director of Beauty Fit for a Queen. Their mission is ‘to change the culture of beauty by teaching worth and value in young women through the beauty of Jesus Christ’.

“Do you know there are benefits in wearing high heels? You can receive comfort from experiencing discomfort. They give you more height to stand tall, improve your confidence and posture and provide support.

“It’s important for young women to have a mentor. We have a Modern Day Princess Program with the International Headquarters here in Sebring. Princess Diana had ladies-in-waiting who served as her mentors for physical health, emotional health and spirituality.

“Our programs help young women understand their inner beauty. We offer mentorships and opportunities for teen volunteers to learn leadership qualities.”

Carissa Marine is the CEO of the Champion for Children Foundation.

“There are three phases of life. The mountaintop experience is when you are on a high, living the life, full of blessings. Next is the plateau stage where you move along step-by-step waiting for something or someone. The final stage is that hard valley that may be dark and long and we need support and love.

We all need community, friend and family support at all stages.

“Remember, you’re okay and tomorrow is another day!” said Marine.

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