Free prom dresses offered at ‘prom shop'

| 29 Sep 2011 | 02:37

The event also offers a good opportunity to donate that once-worn dress NEWTON — Project Self-Sufficiency will sponsor the second annual “Sister-to-Sister” Prom Shop on Friday, March 20, from 2 to 8 p.m. at the agency’s office in Newton. Those who have a family member in high school who are in need of a prom gown are invited to call to register for the opportunity to receive a free, new or gently-used dress. The popular “Sister-to-Sister” Prom Shop was conceived last year by Isabella Ilaria, a student at Gill St. Bernard’s school and a budding philanthropist, who marshaled a group of friends and managed to donate 100 gowns to Project Self-Sufficiency. The public responded to the effort, and the agency received a whopping total of 200 prom-worthy dresses to distribute to high school girls in need. The agency is once again accepting the donation of new and gently-used dresses in anticipation of this year’s event. “The ‘Sister-to-Sister’ Prom Shop was a huge success last year, thanks to the determination of Isabella Ilaria and the support we received from this community,” commented Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “Given the current economic situation, we are anticipating that the need will be even greater this year. Attending the prom is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we are hopeful that the public will help these girls to have a memorable evening.” Ilaria has been a frequent supporter of Project Self-Sufficiency. At the age of 13, she was a featured speaker at Project Self-Sufficiency’s annual “Project 100” fundraiser. She subsequently spent two summers volunteering at the agency’s Little Sprouts daycare center. To celebrate her 16th birthday, she solicited donations for Project Self-Sufficiency in lieu of gifts and handed the agency a check for $3,000. At the Sister-to-Sister Prom Shop space will be provided to try on the gowns so that each participant will be able to walk away with a dress that fits. The Prom Shop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Donations will be accepted during business hours, Monday through Friday until March 19. Larger sizes are appreciated. Dresses should be cleaned and on a hanger. Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton. 973-940-3500.