BELFAST, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The 9th Annual Cinderella Project of Maine is a cause with a mission. Through the giving of free new and gently used prom dresses to local high school girls, the project encourages the girls to pay it forward and give back to the community wherever they can.
"I don't really know what to expect, like how the day is going to be, but you see it in the movies and your like 'oh, it's the special day' so yeah I'm really excited."
Amalia Cockerols is a foreign exchange student from Germany attending Belfast area high school. She's never been to a prom.
"I saw it on Facebook that they have this actually, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a dress that I wouldn't even be able to bring back to Germany," Cockerols said.
She, like many high school girls and their mothers, were looking for an affordable way to look beautiful for prom Saturday. Which is exactly why they came to the Ninth Annual Cinderella Project of Maine.
"It is a good system, you know, because prom dresses are expensive and you wear them once. So you can recycle them, you can give them to other people," said mother, Tara Shibles.
The project collects new and gently used dresses and gowns to give to local girls. Instead of paying for the dresses, the girls have to pay it forward by completing good deeds in their communities.
"They volunteer at a local animal shelter. They volunteer to be a big at their local elementary school. They, you know, give a dress to somebody else. They give the dress back to us," said eight year Cinderella Project volunteer, Jessica Woods.
The room is not only filled with gowns, but with stories and memories too. And the stories behind some of the dresses are more magical than any of the girls ever expected.
"I have been waiting for that dress to go for two years. It arrived at my office in a Macbook Air box from Los Angeles. So when I opened it there was a note in it that said if we feel it's appropriate and we want to, once the dress is selected, to let the girl know that it's been to the Academy Awards," said volunteer, Tabitha Lowe.
For the Cinderella Project volunteers, the most important goal is to never let a girl sacrifice feeling beautiful because of cost.
"The fundamental beliefs of the Cinderella Project are that girls leave with a dress feeling beautiful, feeling respected, and feeling like they're the princess for the day," said Woods.
If you would like to donate dresses to the Cinderella Project, you can visit their website at cinderellaprojectofmaine.org to find out about drop off sites near you.