Fairy godmothers provide donated dresses to high-school girls in need

Jeff vonKaenel

It is a recipe for tears: An unemployment rate of 12 percent that leaves single moms struggling to pay the bills. The biggest, best and most important day in all four years of high school, the prom, creeping closer. Plus, prom dresses that cost as much as several hundred dollars.

This is where Sacramento nonprofit WEAVE’s Cinderella’s Closet comes to the rescue. Cinderella’s Closet provides free dresses, shoes and accessories to high-school girls who otherwise might not be able to afford to go to their prom.

I asked Taisa Pecrova, a 17-year-old senior at Community Collaborative Charter School, what it was like picking out a dress at WEAVE. She explained, with a sense of amazement in her voice, “When I walked down the stairs [at WEAVE] and saw all of those beautiful dresses, I thought that the people who donated these dresses must be really lucky. Then they helped me pick out my own dress.”

High-school counselors, teachers or supervisors verify financial need and refer Taisa and girls like her to receive the free dresses. She described the dress she picked out as very beautiful: long, black and pink. She was clearly thrilled with her dress and the whole experience she’d had with WEAVE’s fairy godmothers.

All of the fairy godmothers are WEAVE volunteers who take several hours of orientation classes on teen dating safety. Besides helping the young ladies pick out dresses, accessories and makeup, they also give the girls dating advice and a card with phone numbers to call in case of trouble.

Since I was talking to fairy godmother Sarah Lindner on the phone, I was not able to confirm whether Sarah levitates in the air when she grants wishes. But I can tell you Sarah loves being a fairy godmother.

“To see the joy on their faces, especially when they first enter the room, is captivating. Cinderella’s Closet is their own personal dress shop. … The time there is all about them,” explained Sarah.

But the closet would be bare without women like Randi Lively, who donated her aqua senior-prom dress and her brown and gold junior-prom dress, both of which had been just sitting in her closet.

She said it was bittersweet to give up the dresses, but she thought this was a much better use for them. I asked Randi what she paid for those dresses. The aqua came in at $295 and the brown and gold was $155. That would have been a lot of money for someone struggling to make rent and food bills.

So if you have some dresses that are just sitting in your closet, or some extra pictures of dead presidents in your wallet, send them down to WEAVE. You may not levitate, but your heart will.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.