For many years boutique was our mission event. It was held every March on a Saturday. Our outreach coordinator worked with many different high schools throughout the state to ensure that they can make the proper arrangements for their students in need to be able to attend the boutique. Many hours were spent by volunteers collecting and organizing the hundreds of items for each boutique to make sure that everyone of our “Cinderellas” would have many choices for their perfect prom outfit.
On the day of the event, our volunteer personal shoppers and assistants worked with every one of our students to choose the best gown and/or tuxedo/suit, shoes, and accessories such as evening handbags, jewelry, ties, and wraps. Our wonderful kind volunteers would search for the perfect outfit based on the request from the student while guiding them for proper fit and elegance. Our amazingly talented seamstresses made small alterations to guarantee a great fit and look for each student. Cinderella's Closet provided the whole package for no cost and only a suggested donation of $20 so that we can could to help other students in the future.
Although many people might think that the organization and event were about a prom dress, the truth is that the event was to provide these young adults with the incredible unique and fantastic experience of being pampered and catered to. They would be treated like princesses and princes with lots of care and respect. Our volunteers would take the time and make every possible effort to make everyone feel special and some of our customers indicated just that in their thank you notes, “you made me feel like a true Cinderella.” Another wrote, “I really loved being here. Everyone made me feel like a star”. Rikie said, “You made this so wonderful and easy and not at all what I was expecting. Thank you so so much!”
The boutique was about the transformation that happens to the students who are being helped as well as the volunteers doing the work. We all came out of the other side of the event changed, some were more confident, some self-assured and some learned that there are incredible people rooting for them. Others learned the value of giving while realizing that the feeling you get from giving is the real gift.
We relied on our partnership with the schools/organizations to help us identify girls in need. We had many dresses, suits and accessories in our inventory for all of our princesses and princes. High school counselors, principals, teacher, other partner organizations and clergy were able to refer a young adult to Cinderella's Closet.