Attending prom is a rite of passage for teenagers — signifying the end of high school and the start of adulthood. But attending prom has been known to be expensive.
For teenagers with limited funds, attending prom isn’t possible — until now.
Valley Health Team, a Central Valley-based health center that provides primary care services in underserved urban and rural communities, has partnered with sponsors and donors to coordinate The Cinderella Project — a collection drive of prom dresses for junior and senior girls.
“Our goal is to hit 1,000 [prom] dresses,” said Marti Shirley, development director at Valley Health Team.
As of mid February, nearly 800 prom dresses had been collected. Shirley said a lot of prom dresses were donated by top-notch boutiques like Premier Bride’s Perfect Dress, Black Tie & Bridal Lace and Luftenburg’s Bridal.
The mission, Shirley said, is “to support young women in the communities that we serve by building self-esteem and confidence as we aid in the magic of prom memories.”
The Cinderella Project will end with a special event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, April 8 at the Kerman Community Center.
During scheduled time slots, junior and senior girls will select a prom dress — for free! — while learning safety tips, participating in a hands-on etiquette course, meeting new friends, gaining confidence and making memories.
Five high schools have been confirmed to attend: Firebaugh High School, Mendota High School, Kingsburg High School, Kerman High School and Clovis High School.
“Prom is something you remember for the rest of your life,” Shirley said.
In addition to selecting a prom dress, there are ample opportunities for fun. Julia Vogue, owner of Julia Vogue in northeast Fresno, and her son, Vince, will be awarding necklaces, earrings and bracelets as raffle prizes.
A team of student stylists from Paul Mitchell, a popular beauty school in northeast Fresno, will be giving away vouchers for day-of-prom services.
The Cinderella Project is also strongly backed by Soyla Griffin, CEO of Valley Health Team.
“[She] is doing an amazing job of supporting The Cinderella Project,” Shirley said.
Tax-deductible donations of prom dresses are being accepted until Sunday, April 3. There are drop-off boxes at Crown Cleaners, which has locations throughout Clovis and Fresno.
▪ Cedar and Nees avenues
▪ Bullard and West avenues
▪ Kings Canyon and Fowler avenues
▪ Willow and Nees avenues
▪ Herndon and Fowler avenues
▪ Ashlan and Fowler avenues
▪ If you have questions about The Cinderella project, call Marti Shirley at (559) 364-2941.