The Junior League of Williamsport will help make dreams come true for teenage girls by offering prom gowns for a $10 donation during its fifth annual Cinderella's Closet event, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
In 2011, 210 young ladies attended and took home 175 dresses - that number has grown since the project first began in 2008 and served about 60 girls.
The girls represented more than 50 different cities and 30 area schools, according to surveys collected last year by Junior League of Williamsport members.
Cinderella's Closet is not just about a $10 dress - it's about increasing the self-esteem of young women and providing them with a chance to attend a milestone event of their high school career, according to Laurie Ade, Junior League of Williamsport president.
According to national statistics, the average prom dress can cost $250. Add to that tickets for the event, shoes and other accessories and the total can jump to anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
The Lycoming County website states that 14.9 percent of county residents live in poverty with the average median household income in 2009 of $39,968.
The September 2011 flooding also caused additional financial hardships for many county residents, which is why the Junior League's Cinderella's Closet committee has spent the past few months working to make the project a success for young girls.
The dresses and gowns are either donated for the event or bought with Junior League of Williamsport funds over the course of the year. More than 550 dresses, in sizes 0 to 40, will be available, including short, party dresses and modest styles with higher necklines and sleeves.
A small supply of shoes, purses, jewelry, shawls and various hair accoutrements also will be available.
Fairy Godmothers also will be present to assist in the search for the perfect dress and accessories. The Fairy Godmothers are Junior League members or community volunteers who help the girls navigate the racks of dresses.
"This is a fabulous way to reach out to young girls," said Barb Hoover, Cinderella's Closet marketing-public relations chairwoman. "Seeing the girls so happy to find that special dress, it's priceless. That's what makes it all worth it. The smiles and the girls."
"The Junior League of Williamsport is looking forward to hosting the fifth year of our signature project, Cinderella's Closet. This event would not be possible without the support of our members, through their generous donations of time and money," said Shelby Weber, past president and sustaining adviser to the Cinderella's Closet committee. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members and others in the community who have assisted the Junior League of Williamsport in making this event such a success."
The Junior League of Williamsport is a nonprofit organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
For more information, visit the Junior League of Williamsport's Facebook page, www.jlwilliamsport.org or call 995-3099.