gtk-stmscLife is meant to be lived.

We all need a place where we belong, where our talents and skills are nurtured and encouraged, where we can make friends, share our skills, and find that our lives have meaning and purpose.

For more than 400 adults with developmental disabilities, that place is St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center.

For nearly 50 years, St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC) has helped people with developmental disabilities, their families and communities, discover, explore and nurture potential – giving thousands a chance to live life to the fullest. The Center truly provides a “Life Program” that allows students to learn, grow and enjoy friendships and social activities throughout their lives. Students come daily to SMSC’s five-acre campus in the foothills of El Cajon to learn or upgrade marketable skills, develop creative outlets, earn some money, make new friends and gain a sense of independence and self-esteem.

The unique “Life Program” of SMSC includes a Performing and Fine Arts program, which continues to expand and includes dance, music and painting instruction – all of which will be highlighted during their 37th Haute with Heart Fashion Show: Fashion on Pointe. It is from the inspiration of an SMSC student’s painting, titled Ballerina, that this year’s theme was developed. This year’s show will also include numbers from the first SMSC student production of Grease, presented in partnership with Rubio’s Performing Arts and Christian Youth Theatre, on August 1 and 2, 2014.

It was in the 1970s when SMSC expanded its curriculum to offer its first art classes. With these first classes, an untapped wealth of talent was revealed and the importance of St. Madeleine’s ability to fund and grow these initial classes into a program was originated.

So many of their students who had not been able to express themselves through traditional means now share their once hidden feelings through vibrant, original works of art on canvas, wood, glass and other media. Dance and music facilitate social interaction, emotional development and self-expression. Additionally, music stimulates the senses and can help improve a person’s self-confidence, memory and overall mental health. Music is even more beneficial when paired with dance as it implements a physical component that enhances movement and motor skills.

It is through the generosity of our supporters through events like the Haute with Heart Fashion Show that St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center can continue its mission to educate and empower individuals with developmental disabilities to realize their full potential.