New Albany News

Group's free prom dresses are more than a fairy tale

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Amanda Knapp (left), owner of the New Albany-based business Sitting Made Simple, and Sophia Georgantonis, one of her baby sitters and a business intern, are surrounded by prom dresses Sitting Made Simple employees have collected for Fairy Goodmothers. The Fairy Goodmothers organization was founded to provide prom dresses for central Ohio high school girls who can't afford to purchase a dress, and Sitting Made Simple this year has donated some 800 dresses to the cause.

Just as Cinderella's Fairy Godmother gave her the right dress for the prince's ball, Fairy Goodmothers has provided central Ohio girls with the right prom dresses the past 10 years.

"Last year we provided dresses for just shy of 900 girls and our goal this year is to serve 1,500 girls," said Angela Thompson, a Fairy Goodmothers board member.

Fairy Goodmothers was founded to provide prom dresses for girls who can't afford to purchase a dress. The organization raises money to purchase dresses and accepts gently used dresses and accessories each year, Thompson said.

About 800 of the dresses that will be given out this year came from Sitting Made Simple, a New Albany-based business that provides baby-sitting and nanny services.

Owner Amanda Knapp said she asked her 200 employees, most of whom are college students, to collect dresses and learn about philanthropy by "truly being a part of it."

"The girls are really enjoying collecting items that are going somewhere and knowing they've made a big impact," Knapp said.

Knapp said several of her employees are members of Ohio State University sororities, and she committed to give the sorority that collects the most dresses $500 for its own philanthropic efforts.

Thompson said any gently used dresses that need cleaned will be sent to New Albany Cleaners or Dublin Cleaners. All dresses will be put in storage until they are distributed to high school girls on selected Saturdays and a Wednesday in March and April.

Fairy Goodmothers will open Cinderella's Closet Boutique from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays March 15, April 5 and 12, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, for groups only at the Columbus City Schools' Central Enrollment Building on the Fort Hayes campus, 430 Cleveland Ave. in Columbus.

Knapp said she and 10 of her employees will be among the volunteer personal shoppers who will help girls choose a dress.

Girls can register at fairygoodmothers.org for an appointment with a personal shopper.

Thompson said walk-ins are welcome, but girls without an appointment might have to wait until a personal shopper becomes available.

Girls must bring proof that they are in high school. Accepted documentation includes a school identification card, report card or recent school paper or project. Girls are not asked for any financial information, according to the Fairy Goodmothers website.

Thompson said dresses will be available in sizes 0 to 26.

Girls are encouraged to wear a camisole or sports bra and tights or leggings to try on dresses because open fitting rooms will be set up.

Males will not be allowed in the fitting rooms but girls can model dresses for men in the waiting room, according to the Fairy Goodmothers website.

Thompson said after the girls have selected a dress, they can choose "a handbag, jewelry, shoes and wrap that complement her dress."

Each girl also will be provided a bag with makeup, beauty products and other items, Thompson said.

No girls will be turned away, Thompson said, because Fairy Goodmothers hopes to make all girls' prom dreams come true.

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