The Cinderella Project of the Shenandoah Valley is now a recognized non-profit by the IRS received by them on February 28th. The project was notified they are now a recognized 501(c) and will be tax deductible for donors.
Believe it or not, with all this weather, it is nearly time for prom in the Shenandoah Valley. Proms in the Valley start in April and continue through May.
The Cinderella Project of the Shenandoah Valley started in 2003 from an idea that germinated from a news article about how expensive proms had become for students and their families. Many students could no longer afford the attire for attending prom for financial reasons.
Starting with Waynesboro, Staunton, VSDB and Augusta County schools, and a small space at the Staunton Salvation Army, the project started giving prom dresses and accessories to girls to attend prom. Boys’ attire was added later. Gradually more schools have been added when requested by students. Currently the project has grown to where it serves Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockingham, Page, Rockbridge and Shenandoah Counties as well as the cities of Staunton, Waynesboro, Luray and Harrisonburg.
For the last few years the Staunton Mall has donated a store for the project. Shield’s storage supplies a unit to store items and equipment for set-up, Cow Palace Auctions delivers from the storage space to the store, and volunteers set up the space just like a store so that students can shop and find the clothes they need. All dresses, tuxes and accessories are donated. Among the donors have been Fashion Gallery, Bridal Impressions, Bon Worth’s, Augusta Cleaners, Staunton Florist, Waynesboro Florist, women’s clubs and the public. The project asks for gently used items and often gets new items from the stores when they have them available for donation.
Students go to guidance and ask for an invitation to the project. They come to the project and are assisted by a volunteer in trying on clothes and getting the items they need for prom and sometimes graduation if they have items for graduation at no cost to the recipients. They keep the outfits they receive. Students are anonymous except for first names and schools. Last year the project served over 175 students from the Valley and fulfilled several special requests from outside the regular coverage area. The project has grown every year that it has been in existence.
The project hours are Saturdays from 10-2 at the Staunton Mall to the left of Peebles and other times by appointment with a 48-hour notice.
The project can be contacted by email at [email protected]
The project’s Facebook Page is Shenandoah Valley Prom Project. Friend requests are accepted and the page is updated about project status as often as possible as well as donation drop-off locations.
There is a need for volunteers to help with the project. There will be a volunteer meeting on March 6th at 6:00 p.m. on Friday at the location in the Staunton Mall. On Saturday March 7th, help is needed with hanging up clothes and store set-up as the project opens on March 14th on Saturday at 10 for students. The project’s last day will be Saturday May 16th and volunteers will be needed to help pack up the project until next year.
This year the project needs donations for prom and graduation. The items needed include dresses, shoes for boys and girls, evening bags, costume jewelry, unopened make-up, perfume, hygiene items, suits, tuxes, shirts, socks, ties, men’s cologne, after shave and any other donation that can be used for prom or graduation. A vital need this year is dresses above size 16 for young women as well as pants and shirts for young men. There is a donation needed list on Facebook.
Donations are needed this year for both young women and men. Due to the economy, many students need help in attending prom and the project feels that every student should be able to go to prom and not miss out on this milestone in their high school career.
Donations can be dropped off during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at Medical Center Pharmacy, Bishop Realty, SAW Habitat for Humanity and 1st Choice Real Estate in Staunton, Augusta Realty Group and Kline-May Waynesboro, Kline-May in Harrisonburg and the store on Saturdays from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. or can be picked up by request by emailing the project.
Advice for students and parents who may have trouble affording prom: Go to your guidance office and get an invitation to the Cinderella Project of the Shenandoah Valley.