The magic of kindness has been at work to bring beauty to prudent people this prom season with the Cinderella Project.
On Saturday, local teens gathered at Diana’s Books and More to try on gowns all donated by local individuals and businesses. The previous weekend the Cinderella Project was at Carol’s where they also enjoyed treats and door prizes.
The project was the inspiration of Tina Holloway of Royall’s Soda Shop, who was assisted by Cody Amburn of Diana’s Books and More and Vestal Auctions.
“We were just talking about something that we could do to give back to the community,” said Holloway, “and Cody and I just thought it would be something good for the girls to be able to have a special dress for a special occasion.
“I think as a girl when you’re young you always play dress up,” said Holloway, comparing prom to those childhood dreams, “and just dressing up and feeling special and pretty and all that day.”
“It was an overwhelming experience to see all these ladies come in and leave with smiles on their faces,” said Amburn.
Participants from Elkin, Starmount, East Wilkes Middle and High, Pilot Mountain Middle and East Surry High School as well as local early colleges were filled with excitement as they explored gemmed jewel tones and sequined satins.
Surry Central High School junior Marissa Roman was one of those young ladies.
“I’m working to get my own dress and for prom. I’m paying to go there, but I don’t have money to get a dress so I’m just doing what I can,” said Roman, who makes a habit of supporting local charities.
“If I can’t contribute, I try to go and participate in things, because it’s really important. I think it’s really cool the whole providing for other people,” said Roman, who is one of the founders of the Purse Project for the Ark.
While explaining that a Pinterest post inspired Roman and her cousin to provide basic hygiene needs tucked discretely in purses, Holloway and Amburn extended additional aid.
“People can bring those items to Royall’s or to Diana’s,” said Holloway, offering to assist with the Purse Project.
New or gently used purses as well as tampons, feminine napkins and other basic feminine hygiene needs can be dropped off to the restaurant and book store during regular business hours.
“Not many people think about that time of the month,” said Roman.
“[The women] don’t have a whole lot of money to get that kind of stuff. You would assume that they’re not going to be able to provide for that because they’re getting the bare necessities and that stuff’s expensive.”
Items for the Purse Project will be collected through May 11, however, prom items will be collected throughout the year with the second annual Cinderella Project projected.
“We’re going to do it again next year,” said Holloway, who was brainstorming satellite activities to enhance the project. “We would love to make it bigger and better every year.”
Other businesses and individuals can join Diana’s Books and More and Royall’s Soda Shop as well as Angry Troll at 222, Barking Coyote, Brookside Florist, Cavu Marketing, Dodge City, Downtown BMX, Elk Pharmacy, Fiddles Pub, Jennifer K Photography, Nuline,Vanhoy Jewelers, the Reeves Theater, Southern on Main, Studio Pink, Wisdom Table and Yadkin Valley Quilts in supporting the Cinderella Project.
Donations of dresses, shoes and costume jewelry suitable for prom can be dropped off at Diana’s Books and More or Royall’s Soda Shop during regular business hours.
“It was amazing to have so many donations from locals. Everyone was so generous and eager to donate for the cause,” said Amburn.
For more information, contact Cody Amburn at 336-835-3142 or Tina Holloway at 336-835-0028.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.