By Tia Lecorchick staff writer

The Third Annual Friends of Advantage Designer’s Challenge & Top Model Competition was held on Thursday, Feb. 6 at Athens Technical College Auditorium. The event, which charged $1 per vote, raised close to $5,000 in vote donations alone, not including ticket costs and other donations that are still coming in, said Tammy Dalton, Communications and Outreach Coordinator for Friends of Advantage, a non-profit organization that hosts events and raises funds on behalf of Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, a network of mental health facilities throughout northeast Georgia that serve over 10,000 client per year. Melanie Zareie from Athens won the 2014 Top Model title and Barbara Fogg won for People’s Choice of Designer. The overall winner of the Designer’s challenge was Brenda Zareie. Morgan County’s own Sabrina Smith, a second-grader, won second-runner up in the 2014 Junior Top Model category. Megan Hanley from Madison County won first place for Junior Top Model, and Callie Crawford, who represented Eaton Corporation in Athens, won first runner-up. “It was very well attended and Friends of Advantage greatly appreciates the support of our surrounding county participants, voters, donors and sponosors who are helping us address needs within our communiy,” said Dalton. “The proceeds from these events go directly to Advantage to bridge gaps in funding to serve individuals with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addicitve disease,” explained Dalton. The event showcased formerly out-of-date clothing updated and reworked to fit today’s latest fashion trends. The outfits modeled will be sold on the lower level of the Georgia Square Mall in Athens next month along with other donations. “If you have a dress hanging in your closet that you will never wear again and could use a tax credit for, we are currently accepting formal and semi-formal dress donations for children and adults, along with shoes, purses, and jewelry through February for our upcoming adDRESS a Need SALE in March,” said Dalton. The adDRESS a Need SALE will be held at Georgia Square Mall, lower level, on Mar. 7 through Mar. 23, Monday through Friday, from 1p.m. to 9p.m.; Saturday, 10a.m. to 9p.m.; and Sunday, 12p.m. to 6 p.m.