Erica Cordova was at the register, seconds away from purchasing an elegant, seafoam green dress when her mom called to her from across the bridal boutique that was temporarily teeming with colorful prom dresses.
“Erica, how about this one?” she asked, holding up a floor-length blush gown with a flowing organza skirt.
The Rocky Mountain High School senior paused, darted over to her mother and studied the dress. She smiled and got in line for the fitting room, ready to try on one more option. She and the dozens of other high school students packed inside Dora Grace’s Bridal were shopping for discounted prom dresses at the Cinderella Project, an annual PSD event that sells donated dresses for as little as $5.
“I want something that fits my budget,” Erica said. “Usually those dream dresses are totally expensive.”
Prom dresses can cost hundreds of dollars, but those purchased at the Cinderella Project all cost between $5 and $20. Students can also have their dresses altered for free. There are no income requirements for students to purchase dresses from the Cinderella Project.
Volunteer Tracy Spillman looked on from the register as students from PSD schools and schools in Loveland and Greeley browsed the racks stuffed full of more than 800 dresses. Girls pulled dresses off the rack and asked for their friends’ opinions. A line for the fitting room stretched across the boutique.
Volunteers start asking the community for donations months before the event and then carefully sort them and get ready for the big day, when students come in and select their perfect outfit the week before Spring Break.
It can be a daunting task, but it’s worth it to help students get a chance at their perfect prom.
“Dresses are just so expensive,” Spillman said. “We want all the girls to be able to go to prom.”