Cinderella dresses, glamorous accessories and high heels all are staples for prom, one of the most exciting day for girls in high school thanks to Altrusa International of Akron.

Cinderella dresses, glamorous accessories and high heels all are staples for prom, one of the most exciting day for girls in high school thanks to Altrusa International of Akron.

On March 15, with hundreds of dresses lined up in different colors, styles and shapes, Altrusa was ready to give each young woman an opportunity to live her dream without worrying about the financial burden.

“I love my dress. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful. I love how it has the different styles and the different drawings along with the Chinese prints on it. There’s no way I could have found this anywhere else,” said Kaitlyn, one of the recipients of a free dress.

Along with a free dress, between 75 to 100 girls also were able to pick from a variety of accessories, makeup and shoes to complete their princess look. Many can have their prom dresses tailored to fit them perfectly by one of three available seamstresses.

“Altrusa believes prom is an important milestone in a high school girl’s life and does not want anyone to feel unable to participate in this event,” said Alice Luse, Altrusa volunteer and media consultant.  “Princess Night Project is meant to address that very issue. Altrusa would like to grow the project so that every girl in the greater-Akron area who needs a dress knows that the project exists. We would like this project to positively impact those who attend.”

Princess Night was started 14 years ago by a member of Altrusa who noticed that her dry cleaner had many prom and wedding dresses that were left unclaimed. She asked what do they do with them, and the dry cleaner said that if dresses are unclaimed for a long period of time they are donated. Altrusa decided to create Princess Night to help young women who otherwise would not be able to attend their prom because they could not afford a dress.

Since its beginning, Altrusa has given away more than 1,300 dresses to girls in need.

“Most of the girls couldn’t afford these dresses,” Altrussa President Jacque Johns said. “These dresses for the most part are $400, $500, $600 per dress. Many of the mothers who call say, ‘We couldn’t afford to this for (our) daughter’.”

The only thing the girls need to do is provide the school they attend, their first names, and how they learned about the program.

“This event happens each spring. Altrusa takes responsibility for the entire event. The dresses are sized on racks. The girls are escorted by a ‘personal shopper’ who helps them find the perfect dress. Besides dresses, shoes, purses, wraps, jewelry, perfume/makeup samples are available to the girls,” Luse said. “There is a very large variety. Some girls like the big princess dresses, some girls like the sleek and simple.”

The dresses are not only donated by families, but by many stores such as David’s Bridal, Dillard’s and Inos.

“The great thing about this year is that last year, we realized we didn’t have enough of the bigger sizes and a variety, so we got a special grant and we worked with two places, Encore and David’s Bridal, and we bought the dresses at a really reduced rate and now we have a great selection,” Luse said. “It’s awesome.”

Princess Night will be return next spring to serve anyone who needs a prom dress. If you would like to donate a gently used or new dress, call 330-644-5252 or 330-733-1353 for details. Princess Night Project was held at the Family of Faith United Methodist Church this year.