Calendar models get red carpet treatment at Arc of Whatcom County event


BELLINGHAM - The 12 models walked - or ran - down the red carpet while camera flashes fired and iPhones captured every moment.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Smiles of Life calendar, ARC of Whatcom County held a release party featuring its 12 models. Each got a few moments to be a celebrity on the red carpet during the Nov. 7 event at Squalicum Boathouse.

"It was just such a special night," said Amy McKinley, public awareness director for the organization, which works to improve the quality of life and increase the independence of people with developmental disabilities.

Each year friends and family nominate local ARC clients to appear in the calendar. Twelve new models are selected representing a variety of ages, disabilities and interests.

Lesley Keefer of Focus Photography has volunteered her time for the last decade to take the models to scenic spots around Whatcom County for the calendar shots.

"To get a professional photo shoot, they really feel special," McKinley said of the children and adults in the calendar.

Each month of the 2014 calendar features a black-and-white portrait along with a profile on the person including their challenges and successes.

"It's a great way to create awareness," McKinley said.

The 1,000 calendars end up in offices, businesses and homes across the county.

To get one, go online to or call 360-715-0170. A $10 donation is requested.

Reach Debbie Townsend at 360-715-2280 or .

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