Going to a school prom can cost a teenager and parents more than $700 these days, with a dress, limo rental, hair styling, nails, new shoes, and a new purse or clutch.
But 50 to 75 graduating seniors in from Union City High School, North Bergen High School, and Memorial High School in West New York will get free dresses donated by three organizations working together.
North Hudson Rotary Club, a club committed to creating and completing community projects in the area, worked with AmeriHealth, a health care provider for New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and Dress for Success, a NYC-based non-profit organization, on “Project Cinderella.” The project’s goal was to collect at least 20 dresses for 20 graduating seniors for their upcoming prom. But the groups ended up collecting dresses for 50 to 75 girls in total.
They actually collected more than 100 dresses, but in case sizes don’t fit, they estimate the apparel will help at least 50 girls.
The proms are coming up fast for the various schools. Memorial High has theirs on May 27, and UCHS and NBHS will hold theirs June 1.
So April is the month families and students are crunching dollars to prepare for their final celebration before graduation.
“We want to help these girls celebrate their new life, new school, or new jobs, but we want to help families.” – Katherine Grajales
The schools are in charge of picking the students who will go to West New York for a fitting, so students who want to participate can contact their school office.
Katherine Grajales, who works for Project Cinderella, is looking forward to “help[ing] families within our community who may be facing financial hardship.”
She added, “We’re very excited, because we started collecting dresses two months ago and we aimed for at least 15 dresses. Then we had a tremendous success by collecting more, and we’re very blessed. We want to help these girls celebrate their new life, new school, or new jobs, but we want to help families.”
“Project Cinderella” had the help of local businesses to get the word out about the project.
Grajales and the North Hudson Rotary Club explained in their press release, “Prom signals the end of an era and the beginning of another one. It is a special time in the lives of the graduates. This is a one in a lifetime event. Yes, prom is bitter-sweet! It is the ending of high school years. It is the beginning of new scholastic and/or professional goals.”
“We want to offer a better point of view to these girls to show them that people care about their future,” Grajales said.
Britni Zahodnick, a public relations specialist for AmeriHealth, recalled having to pick up a job during her senior year of high school in order to pay for a dress, nails and hair done, and buying new shoes and a clutch.
“It’s a burden,” she said.
Grajales said, “We’re hoping to do this again, but with a fashion show with local girls in February [of next year] that will include fundraising for scholarships.”
Contact Katherine Grajales to donate a dress for Project Cinderella at email@example.com.
Samantha Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .