When Mills Home’s boys and girls stepped across the stage at Hope in Style on August 13, all eyes were fixed on them. The audience’s smiles echoed the children’s smiles as each resident confidently walked the runway wearing new school clothes.
Out of the audience’s sight, Monica Vaughan watched. She had worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event as one of the many volunteers who serve outside the spotlight to ensure Hope in Style shines brightly for the children and everyone attending the annual event.
“I’ve always been a hands-on person and I don’t mind working,” says Vaughan who is very involved at her church, First Baptist Church Greensboro, as well as other organizations.
Growing up in Baptist life, Vaughan was familiar with Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH). But Hope in Style was her way to become directly involved. BCH’s Jennie Counts, and Vaughan’s friend, recommended Vaughan to Hope in Style coordinator Karen Slate who invited her to help plan the inaugural event in 2012.
“It sounded like a wonderful opportunity to do something positive for the children,” Vaughan remembers. “Karen’s excitement made me want to be involved. I had no idea how I was going to help, but I was willing to do whatever they needed.”
In fact, Vaughan jumped in headfirst becoming the Hope in Style committee chairperson for the event’s first three years. “That first year was a challenge. None of us on the committee could’ve done it by ourselves, but we were able to pull it off together – God’s grace allowed us to do it.”
Slate affirms Vaughan’s servant heart. “Monica is such a servant-minded person. She gives so much even in areas that aren’t her responsibility. She’s our top ticket salesperson every year. She’s a multi-year sponsor. She picks up donations for the event. She serves anywhere I ask.”
With a successful first year behind them, the committee turned its attention to the next year’s event. At that time, Vaughan had no idea how Hope in Style 2013 would hold unexpected significance.
Life served heartbreak to Vaughan when her husband Dr. Edwin Vaughan passed in 2008. Three years later, she lost the family dog Minnie.
“My sister gave us Minnie,” she recalls. “She brought her by the house while I was gone, and Dr. Vaughan fell in love with her before I got home.”
A life-long dog owner, Vaughan took in a rescue dog, Samantha, after Minnie died. She succumbed to lymphoma eight months after Vaughan brought her home.
“It was heartbreaking – they become member of your family,” Vaughan divulges. “When you go through the heartbreak of losing a dog you have to wait awhile, but I knew I didn’t want to be without one.”
During the second year’s Hope in Style, Vaughan was introduced to a golden retriever puppy who was the prize for the event’s live auction. The auction was a win-win for Vaughan. Her winning bid benefited BCH’s boys and girls and she received a new furry family member.
The puppy was named Doctor Edwin of Ghent. Ghent is the neighborhood in Norfolk, VA where her husband grew up. She calls her dog “Doc” for short.
“He attached himself to my heart,” Vaughan says smiling. “Doc’s a handful, but he’s a sweetheart, and I love him to death.”
Each year, Vaughan has poured her heart into the planning and execution for each of the five Hope in Style events. The past two years, she has served as the chairperson of the decorating committee. Driven by her growing passion for BCH, Vaughan continues to be a top ticket seller encouraging people to attend.
“Just like anything great, you have to be there to experience it and to understand my excitement for Hope in Style,” Vaughan explains.
At the end of it all, Vaughan brings the spotlight back to BCH’s children: “It’s about seeing the faces of the children as they walk the runway in their new outfits with smiles glowing from ear to ear. It’s educational. It’s inspirational. It’s about giving hope. That’s what it’s all about.”
Special Thanks: Hope in Style is grateful for the volunteers, sponsors and silent auction donors who made the 2016 event a success. Thank you to Belk in High Point, AFTERDISASTER and Vanguard Ministries for being this year’s lead sponsors. And thank you to special emcee WFMY News 2’s Tanya Rivera, entertainers Letters from Home, and the Greensboro Country Club for providing the perfect event location.