The Cinderella Project of Maine developed out of something girls have been doing since they began wearing dresses to formal events. In high school, my friends and I used to swap prom dresses with each other so we wouldn’t have to wear the same dress when we attended our boyfriend’s proms at a rival school. As the oldest of six girls, I always swapped clothes, shoes, dresses, and jewelry, and still do…even to this day. When I heard about the Cinderella Project, it seemed like a natural fit for what I love to do. Girls want so much to look and feel beautiful on the one day of their high school prom–but do you know how much it costs? With new dresses, shoes and accessories (not to mention hair and makeup) averaging around $400-$500, this is not something that most girls can afford. So what’s their option, not go?
Nope, because where there’s a wand–there’s a way.
In 2006, I met with two other women in Belfast, Jessica Jones and Martha Bjelland, who were trying to get this project off the ground. We recruited Amy Boucher and started soliciting dresses from everyone we knew. That first year we had more volunteers than shoppers, but we still gave away 13 dresses. The next year in 2007, Jessica and Martha moved on from the project, so Amy and I worked on recruiting new fairy godmothers to keep the Cinderella Project alive.
In 2009, Waldo Community Action Partners took on the Cinderella Project of Maine as a new initiative and the project grew to give away over 100 dresses each year to girls all over the state. I absolutely LOVE the Cinderella Project, and it’s very important for me to be involved in a project that promotes a positive experience for girls.
– Mandie Sawyer, Planning Committee Chair