In recent years, a number of high school students throughout the state of New Jersey have been skipping their senior proms. The reasons often include the high price of clothes and other costly traditions. While their friends are out for one final dance before graduation, those with tighter budgets find themselves at home, missing out on the celebration; but Cinderella’s Closet wants to change that.

A Monmouth County business, Cinderella’s Closet is determined to change that trend and make it possible for all students to attend the most anticipated dance of high school.

On this episode of Life & Living with Joanna Gagis, Cinderella’s Closet of Monmouth County board member, Samantha Baccala, and fashion show co-chair, Maria Polera, share with show host Joanna Gagis how they are making prom dreams come true by making suits, tuxedos and dresses available to students in need.

This video was made possible thanks to the New Jersey Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

“Cinderella’s Closet is an organization that was started 10 years ago now by two high school students,” said Baccala. “They realized people in the community were, you know, not going to the prom because it’s a financial burden on the families. And so they thought that every student should have the opportunity to go to prom. It’s a lifelong memory that people bring with them forever.”

The students encouraged the community to donate dresses while also raising money — by hosting a fashion show — to start their boutique. Each year, students who are recommended by either social workers, school counselors or clergy can come and pick out an outfit for prom completely free of charge.

“So on our boutique day is when they all come in,” said Polera. “And some of them are a little shy to be there, but the rest of them are pretty much excited that they’re getting to go to prom.”

While the program began in Monmouth County, it has extended to other parts of the Garden State, including Camden and Jersey City. They even cooperate with an organization operating in New York.

To learn more about everything Cinderella’s Closet is doing for high school seniors across the state, check out this edition of Life & Living with Joanna Gagis.

For more stories that impact New Jersey residents, click over to our Hot Topics in NJ series.


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  • Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Life & Living with Joanna Gagis / Caucus Educational Corporation
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