Christina Proctor
COLUMNIST

Prom. It’s one of the most popular scenes for a high-school movie and a vivid memory for most adolescents. It’s an event many individuals spend months organizing, preparing for
and worrying (perhaps unnecessarily) about. It’s a time when lasting memories are formed with close friends before taking that next step to college, university, travel or work.

While prom is a milestone moment in our teenage years, many young girls do not attend simply because they can’t afford a dress. In Waterloo Region, many families face this reality for a number of reasons: they may live on a fixed income or are struggling financially due to job loss or other personal circumstances. The Kitchener-Waterloo Princess Project was formed to address this concern and ensure that all girls are able to attend their graduation or prom, regardless of financial barriers. With the mission, “because every young woman deserves to feel like a princess,” this volunteer-driven charitable organization is making a difference in the lives of many in our community.

Inspired by the good work of Kelly Steiss, executive director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Princess Project, and Tori Kaufman, volunteer coordinator, I got involved as a dress day consultant. My mission was to help young girls find the perfect outfit for their exciting event. The Dress Days were held May 5, 6 and 25, at the Victoria Park Pavilion.

“If we help even one girl, as far as we’re concerned, it’s been a success,” explained Kaufman before the first dress day. But many more than one girl were served through their efforts. Over the three evenings, over 100 girls were outfitted for their prom or graduation.

Thanks to the generosity of local boutiques and individuals, there were racks of gorgeous gowns, divine dresses, sparkling shoes and perfect accessories — all of which were available in every size and colour for the girls to choose from. Whether they wanted a simple design or an elaborate masterpiece, we were able to find something for every girl at the event.

There are times in our lives when we truly want to look and feel our best. We want to love what we’re wearing and feel confident in our own skin. This is what the Kitchener-Waterloo Princess Project does for young girls — the program helps prepare them for these milestones, giving them confidence to take that next step in life. This event is much more than simply receiving a free dress, and their smiles said it all.

Consider donating your formal dresses, shoes and/or accessories
at one of the designated drop-off locations across Waterloo Region: Waterloo Sports Medicine, Gloss, Sage Naturopathic Clinic, Macintosh Dry Cleaners and Affinity Spa.