Dreams Come True at the Corsage Project

Cynthia Cheng

It’s May and high schools across the continent are gearing up for prom season.  Every Grade 12 student is looking for the perfect outfit to show off at the event, considered a rite of passage for many.  After all, it’s the last party for many before entering a new phase in life, whether it be more school or work.  However, proms are expensive.  It’s been said that the average girl spends over $200 on her dress, shoes, accessories, hair and make-up.  In these tough economic times, not everyone can afford to do this.  So enter the Corsage Project, a Toronto-based not-for-profit organization which partners with the Children’s Aid Foundation to provide free formal gear for deserving girls across the city.  Now in its eleventh year, The Corsage Project held its annual Boutique Ball on May 2, 2010 at Metro Hall, where over 250 young women participated.

Which shoe?

Every participant is paired off with a “personal shopper,” all volunteers for the Corsage Project, where they find their “perfect” dress, shoes and accessories.  In addition to the dress and gear, the participants were also given make-overs by make-up artists as well as tips on how to look their best on that big day.  The Boutique Ball is no different from shopping for a prom dress at a store – the girls browse through the racks, picking out several dresses to try on.  They can even get their dresses altered by a seamstress. 

Choosing the perfect dress

When the event first launched more than 10 years ago, all dresses were gently used, generously donated by people across the city.  However, it soon caught on, and corporations began to donate clothes.  This year, sponsors included Laura, Le Chateau, Aldo and PINK (Victoria’s Secret).  In fact, PINK not only donated the gift bags (which contained make-up for the girls to use on prom night), but also vouchers for participants. 

Volunteers pose for a picture

The event was a huge success, and the girls all seemed to have found their perfect outfit for a night I am sure they’ll never forget.  Every girl who wants to go to her prom deserves to go.  It shouldn’t be a matter of a dream.  It should be a reality.