There are nearly 30 dresses in the Manzanita foyer waiting for their next prom. Sheridan Tobin, grade 10, and Shannon Hong, grade 9, took it upon themselves to solicit the donations from fellow students for the Princess Project, which promotes self-confidence and individual beauty by providing free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot otherwise afford them.
“Collecting the dresses is great, but it’s really about so much more than that. It’s about boosting these girls’ self-confidence and giving them a chance to forget whatever hardships they may be going through and giving them a night that can be all about them,” explained Tobin.
“I think that sometimes we take opportunities that we are given for granted,” added Hong. “We buy a dress that we like and find the perfect accessories. Then, the dress that maybe cost a hundred dollars, is flung in the back of our closets never to see daylight again. There are plenty of girls in San Jose who would be so glad for just one nice dress.”
The dresses were delivered in early March to a local branch of the Princess Project.
For many teenage girls a huge part of their high school prom experience is picking out the perfect dress for the occasion. But, for those who cannot afford to buy a prom dress, the event can leave them filled with dread. In fact, the Princess Project began in February 2002 when one girl needed a dress for her prom.
Founders Laney Whitcanack and Kristi Smith Knutson responded to this young woman’s request for help by involving friends and family in a dress drive. Within days, women from all over the San Francisco Bay Area offered their support through donations of their “time, talent and taffeta.”
Since that time, the Princess Project has served more than 20,000 teens through the dedication of more than 2,000 volunteers. Every year, the Princess Project collects new and used dresses as well as accessories of all colors and sizes. Volunteers sort dresses and organize accessories for girls living in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and San Diego.
For more information, visit http://princessproject.org.