Cinderella Project Dresses Teens for the Prom

Do you have a tuxedo or prom dress stashed in the back of your closet — never to be worn again?

Donate it to the Cinderella Project, and you’ll help a young person feel like a prince or a princess on prom night.

The Cinderella Project collects gently used formal attire and distributes the finery to students who might otherwise stay home. It was launched four years ago by students at Middle Creek High School who hoped to reduce some of the rising costs of prom, allowing more of their classmates to attend.

“We saw so many people who weren’t able to go to prom,” said Thomas Wilson, who was a freshman at the time. Now a senior, he is the student body president and one of the event organizers.

By working with the Wake County Student Government Association, the Middle Creek students were able to expand the service project to 15 area high schools. In Western Wake, donations can be dropped off at Cary, Middle Creek, Panther Creek and Athens Drive high schools through March 23.

Collections at the newly participating schools have been going well, Wilson says. At Leesville High School, students collected nearly 100 dresses in less than a week. But more donations are welcome, especially men’s apparel — tuxedos, suits, sport coats, dress shirts and shoes.

“We’ve gotten more support in the last few weeks than I thought we would get the entire time,” he said. “It’s amazing to see how the community has rallied around this.”

Donated clothing will be distributed to area students on Saturday, March 17, 9 a.m.–noon at Cary High School, and noon–4 p.m. at Broughton High in Raleigh. A second giveaway day is set for March 24, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at Athens Drive High School and 12:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. at the Kraft Family YMCA in Apex.

“We know it’s not just a Middle Creek problem. It’s a Wake County problem that we can help solve,” said Wilson. “We feel like we’re having a direct impact on people’s high school experience.”

He recalls helping a couple of girls find dresses for the prom last year at the Middle Creek event.

“It was an awesome thing to see how they realized it could be a normal experience for them, and they weren’t going to miss out. Even for families that are somewhat well off, it’s such an expense. Being able to provide this service is really inspiring.”

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