Yes, I’d Love to Go to the Prom

Local group provides free prom dresses to girls who can’t afford one

Of the Minnesotans recently surveyed, 97% believe people with developmental disabilities should be included in public places and social events. The high school prom is a classic example on an event that should be, and increasingly is, integrated and accessible for all students with disabilities. For many girls, however, just buying the dress is a barrier to big to overcome.

Good news. Operation Glass Slipper, a project of Gender Equity in Leadership and Learning at St. Paul Academy, is making proms more accessible by providing dresses at no charge to any girl who cannot afford one. “Any person, regardless of disability, should be able to attend their prom,” says Pam Phillip of Operation Glass Slipper. “And any of these girls who need a dress should come to us. We’ll be happy to help them.”

How to Get a Dress

High school girls will be able to select a dress during the Open House the weekend of April 14-15 at Southdale Center in Edina. During this two-day event, girls will be able to try on dresses, as well as choose from a variety of shoes, clutch bags, shawls, and other accessories. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 15.
 
High school girls who won’t be able to attend prom because they can’t afford a dress, should tell their guidance counselor or teacher at school, a community leader who knows them, or a member of the clergy at their church, and have them get in touch with Operation Glass Slipper. The project relies on these professionals to make sure that dresses go to students in financial need.
 
Eligible girls will be able to get a dress at no charge, but must present a current, valid high school ID, when they come to the Open House to get their dress. They may bring one female companion (no dates or boyfriends, and no children) and are asked not to wear makeup (it soils the necklines of dresses that are tried on).

Donations Welcome

Operation Glass Slipper asks women and girls in the Twin Cities to go through their closets and donate their prom gowns and formal, bridesmaid, and cocktail dresses (new or gently used), shawls, and clutch bags. These items are being cleaned, repaired, and stored until April, when the group will hold an open house at which girls for whom prom dresses are prohibitively expensive can select one at no charge. In order to have all the dresses ready in time for the giveaway event, they will be accepting dresses for this year’s event through March 15.
 
Over the last few months Operation Glass Slipper has received hundreds of donated dresses, gowns, and accessories from many generous individuals around Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as from bridal shops and department stores. However, they are still short of dresses in the smaller (0-2) and larger (14+) sizes, so at this time they are asking for monetary donations that will be used to purchase discounted dresses in these sizes from their bridal and department store sponsors. They are still in need of supplies such as a professional clothing steamer, rolling clothing racks (the racks they have are bulging with gowns), and bottled water, soft drinks and food for the volunteers at the Open House.

 
Drop-off sites for donations, and other information on the project, can be found on the group’s Web site: www.operationglassslipper.org. The group can be contacted via e-mail at: info@operationglassslipper.org