GENESEE COUNTY — Not having a gown didn’t stop Cinderella from going to the ball and need not stop local young women from attending their proms either.
All they need to do to get a free dress and accessories is make an appointment at My Dreams Do Come True — a Flint-based non-profit that since 2010 has been helping young women be able to afford to attend their proms.
In this case, the fairy Godmother is Walethia Aquil, founder of My Dreams Do Come True, who is also an image and etiquette coach and CEO of Grace and Charm business consulting service.
Last weekend, Aquil participated in a pre-prom event at Macy’s department store where she gave young women etiquette tips such as table manners while dining out and how to gracefully get in and out of cars.
Dreams is a non-profit affiliate of Grace and Charm and is located at 940 Grand Traverse (northwest corner of 5th Street) near downtown Flint.)
Dreams is taking appointments and on April 5 will begin seeing young women who need a prom dress.
There are about 400 dresses of all sizes available, and will be dispensed on a first-come, first-served basis, Aquil said. All the dresses were donated, some by stores and others during an annual donation drive, she said.
Shoes, purses and jewelry are also available and participating beauty salons will donate their services to the young women.
“Prom is a special time, a rite of passage for a girl,” Aquil said of her motivation for starting Dreams. “Sometimes with the economy the way it is, you don’t have the resources. I don’t want any girl not to experience her prom because she can’t afford a dress.”
Dreams works by appointment only and has personal shoppers on hand to help the young women make their selections.
Aquil estimated that since it inception Dreams has given away more than 500 dresses to young women throughout mid-Michigan. She has also worked with other agencies that help young women who need formal attire, includ- ing middle schools, substance abuse groups and migrant farm workers.
Time is of the essence for some prom shoppers. Most proms are scheduled for May but Carman-Ainsworth’s prom is on April 27 and Atherton High School’s event is just one week away on April 13.
Young women interested in getting help from My Dreams Do Come True can call to make an appointment at 810-232-4810. More information about Aquil’s services can be found on her website at www.graceandcharm.com or the Dreams Facebook page at www.facebook.com/freepromdresses
Dreams also will be celebrating its new location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 10:30-11 a.m. on April 16, after moving in February from a previous location on Robert T. Longway. Chamber of Commerce representatives are expected to attend the ribbon-cutting, Aquil said.