This story has been updated.
The Cinderella Dress Exchange is back to help local high school students get their gowns for prom.
Melissa Abner, program coordinator for the fashion and apparel merchandising program at UCM, said a fashion show of prom dresses will be 5 p.m. with models from area high schools showing off their dresses. She said vendors who sell prom-related items such as makeup, salons, tuxedos, flowers and jewelry will also be at the event.
Lauren McKiddy, UCM alum, said she started the Cinderella Dress Exchange as a family and consumer sciences major looking for community service back in 2010.
“As a FCS major and after spending some time doing observations at Warrensburg High School, I realized there was a real need in the community for something like this,” McKiddy said. “Many truly did not have the resources to have their magical Cinderella experience.”
She said with the support of Panhellenic, the FCS and fashion organization that it was something they could make happen to help their community.
“Really, it was just called Cinderella because I truly wanted everyone who was a part of it to feel special and beautiful and to me, that is the Cinderella experience,” McKiddy said
Abner said Delta Zeta started the Cinderella Dress Exchange, the family and consumer sciences education major and the fashion program years ago in 2010. She said they did the event four times, but the last event was in 2013.
“A lot of high school teachers and social workers here have been asking for us to bring the event back, because it was so popular and helpful,” Abner said. “It takes a lot of student dedication and the collaboration of different organizations.”
Abner said over the years, they have given out around 500 dresses to girls who could not afford new ones. She said some of the dresses are amazing and in great condition. Abner said the event has donated food and money to local charities and that the pantry items collected will benifit Campus Cupboard.
“It is so wonderful to see how happy high school girls are when they leave with a beautiful dress for prom,” Abner said. “Their self-esteem is also raised because they have college girls helping them pick out a dress that looks good on them.”
Krystle Gremaud, assistant professor of Family Consumer Sciences, said the dress exchange is designed to help young women in the community attend prom who otherwise may have not been able to.
“I’d say the best thing about the event is helping others,” she said. “Prom is a rite of passage for so many and it’s a night filled with many memories. However, it’s expensive. Knowing that we’re helping students have a great prom experience is what makes this event so special.”