They come from all over Chicago and line up hours ahead of the opening time; young girls with one thing in mind: having the opportunity of finding the perfect prom dress and accessories-for free.

Armed with a letter from their school administration verifying that they are economically disadvantaged, qualifying juniors and seniors from Chicago Public Schools have the chance to “shop” among racks of dresses, shoes and handbags in all styles, sizes and colors-plus peruse unopened makeup and stockings for additional items they might need.

Called the Glass Slipper Project, the Chicago-based, not-for-profit group collects women’s party wear-from dresses right down to nylons to make sure young ladies in need are outfitted at prom time. The group gained national attention a few years ago thanks to a plug on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and each year more and more young girls participate.

For the last two years, Psychology Club members at Dominican University in River Forest have promoted the program and offered a gathering point for donations from fellow students. This year, due to the growing popularity of the program with girls in need, they are reaching out to the community, asking for donations. “Prom is symbolic of high school to many people, and every student should have the opportunity to attend their own prom,” said Danielle Thele, project coordinator, and a Psychology student. “Many of us have old prom or bridesmaid dresses and matching shoes and purses that are just hanging in our closet. Donating them to Glass Slipper Project is an easy way to make a girl’s dreams of having something pretty to wear to prom come true.”

Those interested in donating items should keep in mind:

Dresses should be less than 5 years old

Dresses and shoes should be in good condition

Dresses, preferably, should be cleaned prior to sending

Dresses should be tea length or long formals

For health and safety reasons, make-up must be unused

For more information, contact Danielle Thele at 630/674-2268. More information on the Glass Slipper Project may be found at

– Stasia Thompson

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