Its every young girl's dream to feel like a princess, at least once, but for many who've been given a difficult start to life that dream doesn't always come true.
That's where the Ambassadors for Children Prom Closet in Springfield steps in to make sure any young lady in foster care can come in and pick the dress of her dreams.
“It’s really indescribable,” says Natalie Allen, with Ambassadors for Children. “Most of the time they are a little unsure of what to expect. A lot of times they haven't been given special attention that's healthy and positive and sincere. And for them to come in unsure of themselves and really just having experienced so many traumas to be able to come in and not just receive a dress, but to receive affirmation of their beauty on the inside it’s more than fulfilling it. It’s incredible to see someone realize just how special they really are.”
Dana Lopez has fostered many teenage girls over the years. She says the Ambassadors Council and Prom Closet have been true blessings, along all the dresses that are donated by people in the community.
“The transformation is tremendous and so often our kids come in and they are unsure of themselves and sometimes they’ve never even had a formal dress on and to come in and get on fitted in and to literally get transformed from head to toe,” says Lopez. “They walk out so confident and sure of themselves its just amazing.”
The Prom Closet's founder is Arianna Stephens, who was placed in foster care at age two.
Even then she had a heart for foster kids and at age 15 wanted to make sure every girl in foster care could get a prom dress.
That's when Ambassadors for Children partnered with the Prom Closet. This allows the girls to pick a dress, get shoes and accessories for free; the full princess treatment. Arianna is a freshman at Baylor University now, but her heart is still felt here at home.
“I really see her as creating an opportunity for other people to be heroes,” says Allen. "The heroes are every person that donates a dress. The heroes are even case workers and foster parents that brings in their girls and our volunteers that serve here. Not for the recognition but just to be of service to these young ladies.”
Arianna and her parents still play an active role in the Prom Closet. She also spends time at Ambassadors for Children on her school breaks.
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