Debbie Anderson loves to see the smile on their faces.
Anderson heads up Sarnia-Lambton Cinderella Story an organization dedicated to providing prom dresses to young women who are in need. Last year, 65 girls came to The Cinderella Story’s Dress Boutique at the Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation offices.
Anderson says there are many families in the community who simply can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars for one night. For many young women, that’s a tough lesson. But The Cinderella Story gives them an opportunity to go to prom and Anderson says changes attitudes and sometimes lives.
“Some girls come in with a big pout on saying ‘I’m not going to prom, I don’t want a dress I don’t need one.’” By the time the girls have chosen their special dress and been treated to hair and makeup Anderson says the volunteers “get a hug and a thank you.
“It sounds cliché but to see the smile on their face is incredible.
“Some of these girls have never had a dress before…they’ve never needed a dress because they can’t afford it and they don’t go anywhere.”
But Anderson says it’s about more than a fancy dress for prom. “We’re giving them an opportunity…they all deserve to feel good about themselves and to look good and that’s what were doing,” she says.
Anderson still gets emails from one young woman who received a prom dress several years ago. She’s now an honours student at Fanshawe College. “She told me ‘You gave me this…I went to prom, I felt good about myself; I don’t know what I would be doing if all those little things had not happened. I probably would have kept by dead-end job and never gone to college.’”
Anderson adds the gift is so powerful because it shows teen girls that people, even strangers, care.
The Dress Boutique will be open for young women in Grade 8 and 12 next weekend. Anderson recommends booking an appointment online at www.cinderellasarnia.org and adds while there are appointments on Friday and Saturday, the waits can be long on Friday night.