BY DESIGN : International Affair Takes Formal Turn

Afraid to cast aside your black-tie wear for that special event? Consider the creative finery exhibited by party-goers at the Orange County Assn. of Black Social Workers' International Gala Affair on Saturday at the Sequoia Conference Center in Buena Park.

For its second annual fund-raiser dinner, the local chapter of Black Social Workers encouraged its 200 guests to dress in international formal attire, says committee member Connie Franks. "We hoped for an interracial turnout and wanted people to wear clothes that represented their country."

Proceeds from the event funded a scholarship for a black graduate student studying for a career in social work.

The group, which organized four years ago as part of the national Assn. of Black Social Workers, provides services in the community by encouraging students to become involved in social work and by developing a mentor program for black children in residential placement. It also assists needy families every month by distributing clothes and food and gives out holiday baskets.

"We're a small group," Franks says. "We do the dance to let the community know we exist and to increase our membership. You don't have to be a social worker to belong; you just have to have a commitment to meeting the needs of our community."

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