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By Baileigh Rebowe | LSU Student
High school girls from throughout
Louisiana who want to look beautiful for prom but may not have the money to do
so are the focus of The Cinderella Project shopping spree this weekend in Baton
Rouge and Lafayette.
The project is a non-profit
organization dedicated to building confidence and self-esteem in young females. This Saturday (March 24) a select group will
have the opportunity this Saturday to shop for the perfect dress, shoes and
accessories at no cost to them.
The 5th annual Cinderella
Project Dress Giveaway will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Exxon Mobil
YMCA in Baton Rouge,
and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lafayette Hilton Garden Inn. (Monroe, the third site where this event is
held, already held its giveaway.)
Check-in is on a first come-first-served basis starting
at 8:30 a.m. Each student will receive a 30-minute appointment with a volunteer
personal shopper. There are no signup fees or registration papers; girls need to only bring
a valid photo ID and be accompanied by a female parent/guardian to be able to
shop. Proof of income or other financial statements are not required.
"The average cost of a prom ticket is
$60," said Shelton Jones, co-founder of The Cinderella Project. "Buying a
dress, shoes, and accessories can add up."
Almost 2,000 dresses in an assortment of
colors and sizes have been donated, according to Jones. The event will be set up like a real retail
store with dressing rooms and options for shoes and accessories. Minor on-site
alterations will be available and door prizes will be given away throughout the
lady should feel like a princess for one night and this is a great way for them
to do this," said Jones. "Prom is such an important milestone and it should be
fun for these girls, something to look forward to, not something hey should
have to miss out on."
The Cinderella Project Baton Rouge was
started in 2008 as a way to support young women
statewide with resources that may not exist for them otherwise. Since its
founding, the organization has collected 15,000 dress donations and distributed
3600 dresses to students in more than 80 high schools.
In Lafayette, the idea started
in 2008 as the UL-Lafayette AmeriCorps Prom Dress Drive, a student service project
that was small but successful, according to Americorp Director Judd Jeansonne. Some 40 high school girls found dresses at the
drive the first year and the event grew until recently the group partnered with
the Cinderella Project in 2011 to be able to provide more dresses and reach
girls across the state.
Last year, The Cinderella
Project Lafayette dress giveaway included 900 dresses and nearly 200 girls.
The organization currently has three chapters -- Baton Rouge, Lafayette
and Monroe – and is interested in expanding to more areas in the future.
The prom dress drive and giveaway is the
organization's biggest event. Dress donations are accepted throughout the year. For more information on the dress giveaway
or to donate to The Cinderella Project, visit www.cinderellaprojectla.org.