Glass Slipper Project grants prom night wishes

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For the first time in many years, junior girls adviseries are reviving New Trier’s involvement in the Glass Slipper Project, a Chicago-based organization that allows less fortunate girls to participate in the joy of prom, free of cost.

According to Patricia Sheridan, junior girls adviser chair, the project came across her radar in the fall.

Sheridan was contacted by Hal Coxon, the head of Zengeler Cleaners. Coxon reached out to gauge New Trier’s interest in contributing to the organization by having a dress drive.

New Trier has participated in past years, but this is the first service project that has been targeted specifically for junior girls adviseries.

Sheridan hopes to maintain the project and permanently establish the idea of a junior service project.

“All the adviser levels have service projects,” said Sheridan, “seniors have Habitat for Humanity, sophomores have two opportunities in the fall and spring as an advisery, and the freshmen have many opportunities to join service clubs. Junior year hasn’t historically had one.”

Along with participation in the drive, all junior girls advisers received a packet with sources and points of discussion if they wanted to educate their advisery and learn through service.

Some of the lessons are not directly related to the project and focus on topics such as citizenship, leadership, and class inequality.

“Each lesson has a list of resources with discussion questions and follow-up questions that discuss larger topics that connect to service but have nothing to do with the dresses themselves,” said Sheridan.

The Glass Slipper Project will accept dresses ranging from a casual sundress to a floor-length gown, but the overall focus is on prom.

This can cause a problem when the majority of girls in the school have not yet attended prom and don’t have any “prom dresses.”

“Just by seeing girls at Turnabout, it’s unlikely that the girls will wear [that outfit] again to prom. Any dress from ‘Sweet Sixteens,’ Bar Mitzvah [dresses] or any semi-formal dress that can be reused is great,” said Sheridan.

Lindsey Ruda, a junior, agreed with Sheridan about donating past Homecoming or Turnabout dresses.

“Freshman year, I went a little overboard for Turnabout and my dress doesn’t fit me anymore, so why not donate it? Most of the dresses at Turnabout would be appropriate to wear to a prom anyway,” said Ruda.

Once the dresses are donated, they are taken away in a truck by Zengeler Cleaners.

The dresses are then cleaned and mended if needed, and stored in the organization’s “boutique” space.

The 2015 location for the boutique is Price School, a now-closed Chicago elementary school.

Displaying the dresses requires wide open spaces, and its classrooms provide an easy solution to separating the thousands of donated dresses.

In the spring, Glass Slipper Project hosts two Saturday “boutique” days.

On those Saturdays, the boutique is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. based on the demand for dresses.

Girls will sometimes wait in line hours before the recommended starting wait time. And for these girls, the wait is worth it.

Once inside Glass Slipper’s boutique, each girl is allowed one female family member, and she is given a personal shopper to guide her and help her pick out the perfect dress.

Each girl who enters the boutique must prove they are a junior or senior in high school. .

Through the personal shopping experience, girls are allowed to claim one dress, one pair of shoes, one purse, up to three pieces of jewelry, and up to four pieces of makeup for free.

This is all accomplished with the help of volunteers.

The Glass Slipper Project has helped more than 18,000 girls since being founded in 1999 and will continue to help less fortunate girls feel like the belle of the ball at their own prom without the large price tag.

“The costs associated with prom is something that we take for granted, but that’s not always a luxury for every student,” said Sheridan.

Donations of dresses to the Glass Slipper Project will be accepted up until the morning of March 25 in room 200 at the Winnetka Campus.



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