Say Yes to the Dress UP hopes to collect 1000+ donations

Prom formal wear for all genders now collected for drive


Danielle Towers

Collection bins by the school’s front entrance, outside the cafeteria

Since adding a new partnership with the Mother’s Trust Foundation, Say Yes to the Dress UP, previously known as the Glass Slipper Project, has a goal to collect 1000 items including dresses, shoes, accessories, suits, and monetary donations.

New Trier’s charitable initiative started with a partnership with Zengeler Cleaners in Winnetka, to collect and provide prom dresses, shoes, and accessories for The Glass Slipper Project which is for junior students living in Cook County.

With the Mother’s Trust Foundation, Lake County residents may choose an outfit for prom or a job interview.

“For $250 you can sponsor a student to be dressed up for prom or for subsequent job interviews. So we felt like we couldn’t call it the Glass Slipper Project anymore. We also wanted to acknowledge that it is not just for dresses, but a dress up for anyone,” said Junior Girl’s adviser chair Patricia Sheridan.

According to senior board member Anna Shah, the donations are taken to Zengeler Cleaners who dry cleans the donations. They are then taken to the Mother’s Trust and the Glass Slipper warehouses to be organized by size and color.

“We wanted to make it more inclusive this year, so we additionally partnered with Mother’s Trust as they accept suits, jumpsuits and any other formal wear in between. Say Yes to the Dress UP reflects this joint partnership and shows how we are collecting donations to dress up for a fun prom night, regardless of gender or style preferences,” said Shah.

This year, the Mother’s Trust Foundation will be hosting their second ever Prom Pop-Up Shop from Apr. 3 to Apr. 5 at the College of Lake County. The Glass Slipper Project will be hosting their 22nd annual boutique on Mar. 21 and Mar. 28 in S. Calumet in Chicago.

“We set up a date, so [Zengeler Cleaners] are coming Mar. 19 to pick up [donations]. They bring in a large truck and we actually have everything bagged already for them. They take them over to Zengler and they actually do the process from there, where they clean, and repair,” said Sheridan.

The donations go to pop-up boutiques for inner-city students to shop for a dress, jumpsuit, or suit. All they need to bring is their student ID. For the first time, members of the Say Yes to the Dress UP leadership team will volunteer as personal shoppers for the Mother’s Trust Boutique on Apr. 3.

“We started in 2015, but last year we created a larger team, an advertisement video, established social media pages, and raised over 200 more items than ever before. We hope this club continues to grow here at New Trier,” said senior board member Yael Shaw.

According to Sheridan, juniors will typically run this project since it is the juniors who run the prom. However, last year’s junior board members were excited to expand this project to new students including seniors and sophomores.

“They [sophomores] are going to be juniors next year anyway, so it helps us include them so that next year they can be in charge of running this,” said Sheridan.

According to junior board member Iris Ely, her favorite part of being a board member is the ability to bring together the school’s community for other students.

“This project is important to me because many people consider the prom to be a key part of the high school experience, and therefore every student should have the opportunity to go to the prom regardless of social background,” said Ely.

Sophomore board member Emma Powers said almost everyone she knows goes to school dances, and most people buy a new dress, with matching shoes, and accessories.

“At New Trier we are so privileged. I think it is important to let others who are less fortunate also experience the glamour and fun of a school dance. I think our student body as a whole should be more appreciative of what we do have when it comes to dressing up,” said Powers.

Shaw said it was rewarding to see the amount of donations from across the community. She feels honored to be a part of making someone feel special for a night, while bringing together New Trier in doing so.

“It breaks my heart to think that high school students just like me can’t enjoy this special night, just because of cost. I love this project so much because the formal attire we collect can tangibly make a difference and that is just so special,” said Shah.