One of the signature moments and long-lasting memories that many students create in their high school experience is prom night and getting to participate in the right of passage before graduating.
Prom is not a wonderful and exciting time for everyone though. Along with dresses and tuxedos come price tags in the hundreds of dollars range, something some families simply cannot afford.
After talking to a classmate on the bus when she was in Grade 12 and discovering the girl was going to skip prom because her family could not afford a dress, the conversation lingered with Brandi MacCuish for quite some time. Now graduated and seeing her younger sisters go through prom and all the celebrations, the three decided that they wanted to help out others.
The Glass Slipper Organization originated with five high school students in Halifax and has since grown to include chapters across Nova Scotia, including Truro and now New Glasgow. The organization provides free-of-charge prom dresses to students who would like to attend their prom and might not otherwise have the funds to buy one of the expensive dresses. After hearing about the organization, the MacCuish sisters contacted the organizers and worked things out to create a local chapter.
“No one should skip prom due to not being able to afford it,” said MacCuish. To help the New Glasgow branch kick off, the Halifax organizers have even promised to send 200 dresses to help with some variety. Donations for the project are also being collected at the New Glasgow Library which is storing the dresses, 10 at a time, for the organization as they are dropped off. The drop off site is located at 182 Dalhousie St., New Glasgow.
MacCuish and her sisters are planning to hold shopping events on Feb. 23 and May 4 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the New Glasgow Library for those looking for a dress. MacCuish added that they are hoping to get some retail workers to volunteer to help the experience feel even more like an actual dress shopping experience in a store for the girls who attend. Those wanting to volunteer can contact her via the Facebook page or at firstname.lastname@example.org. A check out for the dresses to be bagged up will also be on site.
“Everything is free but the checkout is just to make it feel more like the real thing,” she explained. MacCuish added that although the posts on their Facebook page said that a student ID is required, she clarified that if some students do not have an ID or lost theirs they should contact the organization and they can work something out to allow them to get a dress.
Since posting the information on the project on Facebook and creating a page for the New Glasgow Chapter, MacCuish said she has had a great response from the public with a large number of people wanting to donate formal dresses.
“We just want to give back to the community, we don’t want it to be stressful for anyone. We want everyone to feel beautiful on their day.”
From left are sisters Brandi, Keeley and Tori MacCuish who have started the New Glasgow chapter of The Glass Slipper Organization, a non-profit that seeks to give away prom dresses to those who might not be able to afford one otherwise. (Submitted photo)