Hundreds of dresses in a rainbow of colors – some sparkly, others understated – were available for girls to search through Saturday afternoon in the YWCA Greater Johnstown.
Among those racks, many young women found the perfect outfit they will forever associate with a special day in their lives.
It was part of the Cinderella Project, which provides free prom dresses and accessories.
The goal is to give the dresses to girls who might not otherwise be able to afford a gown for the prom, although organizers did not ask any financial questions. Everything was done on the honor system.
The event was about much more than finding clothing.
“It’s that stand-in-front-of-the-mirror moment – look at themselves – where they feel that they are pretty, that they are beautiful, and they walk out with a sense of self-esteem and self-confidence that maybe they didn’t have with them when they came in the door,” Cinderella Project coordinator Megan Livingston said.
Organizers started with more than 800 dresses in stock.
On average, 100 to 120 girls select an outfit from the inventory each year, Livingston said.
All items are donated.
“We knew that every girl has a dress in their closet they wear once and never wear again,” Livingston said.
“It was just taking on that concept and trying to repurpose it in that way.”
Celestial Brides, Concurrent Technologies Corp., and other businesses and organizations help, too.
“We get some support in those different directions, but so much of it is just from the community members,” Livingston said.
The Cinderella Project will be open again from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at YWCA Greater Johnstown, 526 Somerset St.
Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Dave_Sutor.