ASH GROVE, Mo.– It’s been eight years since Shine Inc. was created.
Director, Aimee Gerla, says it all started at a coffee shop.
“We were just sitting down having coffee, and we thought wouldn’t it be neat if we could get donated dresses and give these kids dresses so they don’t have that stress,” said Gerla.
Gerla says she understands how easy a time meant to be filled with joy can turn stressful for families strapped for cash.
“I hated seeing kids not be able to get excited about prom due to financial situations,” said Gerla.
For the first few years, the group opened up shop at churches and other local businesses on one Saturday during prom season.
“But, the problem was, when you’re financially strapped you don’t always have the transportation,” said Gerla.
Gerla says last year was the first time the non-profit was able to have a permanent location.
“We served over 30 girls from all over the area, all the way from El Dorado Springs,” said Gerla. “We even had someone from Arkansas come, they were able to come at their convenience.”
Gerla says her favorite part is seeing a girl’s face light up after she finds the perfect dress.
“The look on the girl’s faces, the look on the mom’s faces or the dad’s faces when they don’t have to worry about going into debt or finding the money or saying no you can’t go to prom,” said Gerla.
She says that feeling makes all of their hard work worth it.
“People from all over have been donating dresses,” said Gerla.
Gerla says Shine Inc. truly is a community and even an area-wide effort.
Shine Inc. is located at 116 West Main Street, Ash Grove, MO.
The non-profit is open to the public every Saturday from 10am until 2pm from February 22nd until May 2nd.