Gowns come out of the closet to give needy girls their night as “Cinderella”
Prom season is just around the corner, and around the east Valley teenage girls are already starting to think about which style of dress they want to wear for the big night.
For some girls, though, the dream of buying a prom dress is out of reach financially. As anyone who has ever purchased one of the fancy frocks knows quite well, they can be quite pricey.
Thanks to a group of women from East Valley Women’s League, hundreds of teenage girls who want to go to the prom this year will get the beautiful dress they have always wanted—for free.
The Cinderella Affair, which is now in its 11th year, gives high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to select a prom dress at no cost. The fairy godmother-like program is hosted through a partnership between the EVWL and the Tempe Community Council.
Amy Grossklaus, Cinderella Affair marketing chairman and vice-president of the EVWL, said the two groups are currently holding their annual dress drive to collect gently worn dresses and shoes. Between now and Feb. 24, people may drop off their pre-worn formal dresses at collection boxes that are located at numerous businesses across the Valley.
Specific collection sites can be found at www.cinderellaaffair.org.
“We only take new or gently used formal dresses, preferably ones that would appeal to a high school girl,” Grossklaus said, adding that long or short dresses are welcome in a variety of colors, but no wedding dresses or velvet.
“We also welcome gently used shoes, handbags, wraps and costume jewelry.”
Between 3 and 8 p.m. on Friday, March 22, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, the Dress Selection Boutique will take place at the Pyle Adult Recreation Center, 655 E. Southern Ave. in Tempe.
Grossklaus said there are typically between 2,500 to 3,000 dresses ranging in sizes 0 to 24 for the girls to choose from.
In order to get a free prom dress, Grossklaus said the students must be a junior or senior in high school and present a valid school ID.
“Any girl from the Valley who meets these requirements can select a dress,” she said.
“The past three years we have given away close to 3,000 dresses.”
Both the women who are dropping off the dresses and the teens who are getting a dress at no charge are delighted to be part of the program, Grossklaus said.
“The typical comment (from the donors) is that the dresses have been hanging in their closets for years and they are thrilled to be passing them on to a good cause. They are also excited that they are helping make some girl’s dream come true.”
The giveaway event itself is “electric,” Grossklaus said.
“Girls can’t get over how many dresses there are to choose from,” she said.
“Usually the girls and their mothers are just ecstatic they are getting a dress, and are amazed by the selection and quality. Many say without this event, they wouldn’t be able to go to prom.”