Donated prom gowns allow girls to feel like royalty

Thursday, April 19, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:44 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Most girls want to look like princesses at prom. At least that’s the belief of the department of textile and apparel management at MU, and the simple logic behind “Cinderella Project,” a collection of “gently used” prom dresses for girls in the community.

The “Cinderella Project” is one of many charitable prom organizations that have begun appearing across the United States in the past few years. Similar projects include the “Fairy Godmother Project” in Houston, the “Perfect Prom Project” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “Operation Fairy Dust” in New York City and “The Glass Slipper Project” in the Chicago area, which was featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Similar efforts have been launched at MU in the past, but this is the first year the department of textile and apparel management has been involved.

Alli Kuykendall, the department’s community service coordinator, is in charge of the event and has been coordinating the work of finding and collecting the dresses. Tiger Cleaners is partnering with the department to handle the dry cleaning, pressing and storage of all the gowns before the event. The dry cleaners is also collecting donations from the community. Payless Shoes is offering coupons for discounted dress shoes to distribute to girls who attend the event.

The department of textile and apparel management has been notifying local high school counselors, community centers and churches about the “Cinderella Project.” Girls can choose a dress for prom from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the J.W. “Blind” Boone Community Center. Although the department currently is the only organization involved on campus, Kuykendall said that it has received many donations from the Greek community.

“The best part about being involved in this is the difference that this might make for girls in the area,” said Kuykendall. “We’re all just happy to play a small role in making prom a little more magical for deserving young ladies.”

For more information, e-mail Kuykendall at or Katie Miller at Gently used prom dresses can be brought to the department of textile and apparel management office at 137 Stanley Hall on the MU campus.

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