Nine-year old Paige Fluent is a veteran of the runway. This year, she participated in her fifth American Girl Fashion Show® to support Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.
“Paige was a preemie, born a month early and weighing only 4 and a half pounds,” says her mother, Shirley Smith-Fluent. “She spent 8 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. At a year and a half, she was back in the hospital with pneumonia. She hasn’t had to be in the hospital for the last 4 or 5 years. We’re very blessed. We like to give back and help the hospital whenever we can as a way of saying thanks.”
Each year, more than 200 local fashionistas participate in the 4 shows, which will took place March 5 and 6 this year at Antone’s Banquet Center in Youngstown. Every girl who auditions gets the opportunity to walk the stage with their dolls in an interactive showcase of historical and contemporary American Girl fashions.
“It’s a fun thing to do and it helps the hospital,” explains Paige. “I’ve made some good friends who I might otherwise not have gotten to meet except for this show.”
Shirley is a volunteer member of the Kids Crew, and Paige helps out Crew members backstage even when she’s not in the show. “Because she’s done a few of these now, she helps the other girls feel confident and comfortable as they line up and find their places,” says Shirley.
American Girl, like Akron Children’s Hospital, takes pride and care in helping girls become their very best today, so they will grow up to be the women who make a difference tomorrow.
Shirley notes, “It’s a really wonderful event. It’s as much fun for the little girls that are in it as it is for the little girls who come to watch.”