Monmouth County Charity Helps Less Fortunate Students [AUDIO]
Cinderella's Closet of Monmouth County is once again assisting underprivileged high school students around the area with defraying prom expenses.
The yearly initiative started back in 2008 as a way to promote self-esteem among young adults by helping them attend prom in style.
"Let's face it, the cost of the prom is pretty prohibitive between the dress and shoes," Spokesperson Mary Pat Serhus said.
The progress of Cinderella's Closet has been remarkable in a relatively short time.
"We have helped probably over 1,800 students attend their prom without having them to have to incur financial burden to do so," she said.
Serhus credits the help of local businesses that donate items and money to buy inventory with, along with the assistance of volunteers, consisting of mainly high school students.
The charity holds two major events each year.
The first was their Prom Fashion Showcase, which was held last week at Jumping Brook Country Club. The fashion show is the main fundraising event, which is run by students helping their peers.
Their efforts culminate in the annual Prom Boutique, which takes place on March 15 at Long Branch High School. At the boutique, personal shoppers and volunteers work with students to put together a perfect prom outfit at no cost.
"We set them up as if they were actually shopping," Serhus explained. "There's racks like you'd find in a store. We have the dresses color-coordinated. We have them by size."
Cinderella's Closet works with churches and schools to help identify the students who would benefit from their yearly program. They rely heavily on word of mouth to spread the word, as well.
"We want to raise awareness of the socioeconomic differences that exist in the local area that we serve. We want to be inclusive. We want to promote diversity,"
In the end, students will be treated to a turnkey prom shopping experience.
"We want to ensure no high school student has to forfeit lifelong memories associated with attending their prom, just because they have financial hardship,"