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It took Kiersten Lofton alone three tries afore she begin her absolute brawl dress: a floor-length, fleet chiffon clothes with a jewel-embellished check neckline.

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It was the additional dress the 17-year-old chief approved on, and she nodded giddily as she looked at herself in the feature mirror.

“Is that the one?” her claimed shopper, Georgia Little, asked. Lofton awkward out a assured “yes” through a bright grin. Her mother and Little fabricated her try on the third, red one for acceptable measure.

While the candy-apple hue gave Lofton a pop of color, the elegant, deep-navy dress with aflame crystals had already baseborn her heart; the antecedent accommodation didn’t change.

Lofton didn’t go to a acceptable abundance to acquisition her dream dress. She, forth with her mother, Nicole, and about 700 added aerial academy girls, visited Price Lit & Writing Elementary Academy on April 14 to appear the Glass Slipper Project’s ceremony brawl boutique.

The Glass Slipper Project, adulatory its 19th ceremony this year, is a nonprofit alignment that collects donated new and like-new dresses, accessories and makeup, and provides them, chargeless of charge, to inferior and chief aerial academy girls for their proms.

The volunteer-run alignment was founded in 1999 by Katherine Goldberg Shaw, Rachel Hart Klayman and Dorian K. Carter, who were aggressive afterwards account a anniversary commodity about a woman who had done article similar.

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Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune

Kiersten Lofton holds up her brawl dress at The Glass Slipper Project, an ceremony pop-up bazaar that gives inferior and chief girls dresses, shoes and added accessories.

Kiersten Lofton holds up her brawl dress at The Glass Slipper Project, an ceremony pop-up bazaar that gives inferior and chief girls dresses, shoes and added accessories. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

“After seeing the adventure in the magazine,” Carter said, “I thought, ‘This is article we could do for (Chicago Public Schools).’ I was alive at CPS during the time and knew my higher-ups would be supportive.”

Carter recalls the aboriginal bazaar and remembers, “We were bare, but we were determined.” “We alone had 10 racks of dresses, one 6-foot table of shoes, and one 6-foot table of jewelry,” she said. “Maybe 20 girls showed up, and we were affectionate of devastated. So we let the girls (each) booty two dresses. We were blessed to accord it to them but sad that added girls didn’t come.”

Nineteen years later, Carter and her co-founders are singing a altered song. The pop-up bazaar has expanded, demography up best of the academy with about 20,000 donated dresses, forth with shoes and added accessories.

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The arcade action starts with the girls bushing out a agenda with a accumulation cardinal on it. The accumulation is called, and girls are alien to their claimed shopper, who takes them through the boutique.

The girls and their shoppers alpha on the third floor, area classrooms are abounding with racks of frilly, sparkly dresses, organized by admeasurement (0 to 30), color, and length. Added classrooms are angry into applicable rooms, area full-body mirrors angular adjoin chalkboards, and racks are pulled calm to actualize a little privacy. There is alike an absolute bathrobe allowance for girls who abrasion additional sizes.

Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune

Claimed client Georgia Little helps 17-year-old Kiersten Lofton aces out accessories at The Glass Slipper Project.

Personal client Georgia Little helps 17-year-old Kiersten Lofton aces out accessories at The Glass Slipper Project. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune)

Once a dress is called , the girls go to the additional attic for the finishing touches. Three shoe apartment action colorful, black, white or brownish shoes to ball the night abroad in. The accessories allowance has shawls, claws and beard pins. The girls can accept up to three pieces in the adornment and architecture apartment to accomplishment their look. There is alike an alterations allowance area girls are able to get about aggregate except a hem.

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When it’s all done, the girls arch to the checkout room, affectionately accepted as the “happiest allowance in all of Glass Slipper” to accept their dresses put into dry charwoman bags. Walking in is a celebration; the volunteers arena a alarm back the girls appear in, and they recite chants like, “She said ‘yes’ to the dress, yes to the dress!”

“We apperceive it took a lot of assignment to get from check-in to checkout,” said Carter, “so they accomplish a big accord out of it.”

Little, who’s been volunteering with Glass Slipper for the aftermost 13 years, says you can see a aberration in the girls already they leave with their dresses.

“They were shocked, excited. Some of them said they didn’t alike appetite to go to prom, but back they larboard with the admirable dresses they got, they were ready.”

As a parent, Nicole Lofton feels beholden for her time with Glass Slipper.

“It’s a absolute absolution to families to be able to appear and accept such a admirable experience,” she said. “They anticipation of everything, things I apparently would accept never anticipation to consider. ”

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To participate, girls aloof charge to be present, be a inferior or a chief in aerial academy and to present a apprentice ID card.

“You can appear from wherever,” said Carter. “We can’t delay to dress you.”

Doors of the aing Glass Slipper Project will accessible at 9 a.m. April 21 at Price Lit & Writing Elementary School, 4351 S. Drexel Blvd. For added info, appointment www.glassslipperproject.org.

[email protected]

Twitter @christenadot_

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