Warde students seek donations for Cinderella Project
FAIRFIELD — Clyde Thompson couldn’t make it from the Bronx, N.Y. His car broke down along the way.
But he still made his presence felt in the Fairfield Warde High School classroom of Carrie O’Brien on Wednesday, his head the only thing visible on volunteer Anne Tack-Eckel’s iPhone.
“Dresses are very, very expensive. And for many of the young ladies in the eighth through 12th grade in our communities, getting a dress is a very, very difficult thing,” Thompson said from his Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Center office to the room full of Warde’s recently formed Princesses Club, whose goal is to gather donations and help facilitate Thompson’s Cinderella Project.
The Cinderella Project, which seeks to donate more than 1,000 prom dresses and accessories to high school girls in the Bronx, was begun by Thompson in 2012.
“My wife and sister-in-law asked me about helping a group of ladies in a foster home who were having a special event. None of the girls had any formal gowns or dresses,” said Thompson, who is director of community affairs at the center. So he began making phone calls.
Tack-Engel is a grant writer for nonprofits who had worked with Thompson and the neighborhood center for more than a decade. She heard from Thompson about the need in his community, and began enlisting her friends in Fairfield to help secure donations and travel to the Bronx to set up a free pop-up boutique at the center.
For details on how to donate, contact Anne Tack-Eckel at 917-969-2943 or email@example.com
The project has grown quickly. Last year, more than 1,500 dresses were available to students in the Bronx, Thompson said. In Fairfield, the word has continued to spread, thanks in part to social media, Tack-Eckel said. This year, for the first time, Fairfield high school students are taking part.
The 50-member club, founded by Warde sophomores Mia Squeo and Melissa Knorr and junior Emma Eckel — Tack-Eckel’s daughter — meets once a month for 30 minutes to coordinate donations and the organization of the pop-up.
The students will spend two days at the center on May 25 and 26, to set up the boutique and help the aspiring prom-goers in the Bronx find the perfect dress.
“It’s so important for them (Fairfield students) to see what it’s like and to meet people of all backgrounds,” Tack-Eckel said.
“Giving girls something to look forward to and something to make them feel confident on what’s supposed to be one of the most special nights of your life is really cool,” said Princesses Club member Amy Tennant.
The club is hoping to collect all donations by May 10. New and gently used dresses, shoes, purses and jewelry are needed.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, where you come from, we’re all the same, and when people are nice to each other it feels good,” Thompson told the class. “I think everybody involved in this project has made it clear that we want to give these young ladies choice. We want them to look nice on this special day.”
For details on how to donate, contact Anne Tack-Eckel at 917-969-2943 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
email@example.com; @justinjpapp1; 203-842-2586