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Sacred Heart Cathedral makes prom possible for low-income girls

March 27, 2015
Christina Gray

Students at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory opened their closets and their hearts to girls whose families cannot afford a pricey prom dress.

More than 20 formal gowns or dresses were donated and delivered by students to The Princess Project, a San Francisco nonprofit that works to provide free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot otherwise afford them. Sacred Heart Cathedral delivered the dresses to the organization on Feb. 28.

Every year, The Princess Project seeks and receives thousands of beautiful new or nearly new dresses and accessories in excellent condition from local students, corporations and other donors. A giveaway event is held in early spring for individual high school teens. Since 2002 when The Princess Project started, it has made prom a reality for over 20,000 local teens.

A survey of 1,000 families around the country by Visa in 2012 suggested that many girls might find themselves priced out of prom. The showed the average family spent $1,078. The dress is only one part of prom expenses which can also include the bid, or ticket, transportation, flowers, photography and dinner.

“High school is stressful enough without having to worry about a prom dress,” said 10th grader Vita Solorio-Fielder who headed up the Sacred Heart Cathedral effort under Julia Rinaldi, who helps coordinate volunteer opportunities for students.

Solorio-Fielder said she was happy to give away the formal dress that she only wore once to The Princess Project. “Our Vincentian tradition is ‘enter to learn, leave to serve,’” she said.

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