For many teenage girls, their high school prom is their big Cinderella moment and for 18 years now, the Glass Slipper Project has been playing the role of the fairy godmother by making those dreams of the perfect prom come true.
The Glass Slipper Project started back in 1998 by three women who were inspired by a magazine article about bridesmaids dresses being given away to teen girls who couldn’t afford to go to their prom.
“I worked at Chicago Public Schools at the time and we had a large amount of students who were homeless so it seemed like the perfect idea for our kids,” said Hyde Park resident Dorian Carter, one of the co-founders of the project.
Carter, along with her partners Rachel Hart Klayman and Kathy Goldberg Shaw, pulled their resources together and held their first “boutique.” They started off with six racks of dresses and only 20 girls showing up, but word quickly got out about what they were trying to do.
“The Oprah show called and they had us on the air,” Carter said. “The next Saturday we ended up having to call the police department for crowd control.”
Flash forward 18 years and the Glass Slipper Project is now a fine tuned process for any junior or senior girl in the area to be able to get their dream dress. This year’s event takes place April 2 and April 9 at Price Elementary School, 4351 S. Drexel Ave., from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Carter explained that after their crowd control boutique, they now only allow 700 girls per boutique, a total of 1,400 between the two Saturdays. She said the boutiques are now more of an “organized chaos.”
Each girl is paired up with one of the many volunteers as their very own “personal shopper.” The girls get to try on dresses, shoes, and accessories and even get their dress tailored on-site, all for free.
“Our volunteers become so close with these girls through the process that some even get invited to the prom pictures,” Carter said. “There is instant gratification for the volunteers. I think you can see what a difference you can make in someone’s life in such a short amount of time.”
The project has thousands of dresses in its inventory thanks to donations from both the local community and nationwide. Bridesmaid dresses, ball gowns, evening dresses and of course, old prom dresses, are donated through USAgain.
Carter said the main goal is and always has been to make girls’ dreams come true through the project.
“We want to make sure every young lady gets to go to prom. There’s no reason why they can’t,” Carter said. “Even after 18 years, I still cry talking about it.”
[Via: Hyde Park Herald]