Dream Center gives hundreds free prom dresses on "Cinderella Day"

Dream Center gives hundreds free prom dresses on "Cinderella Day"

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's a real life Cinderella story.

Saturday morning, hundreds of girls throughout the Lowcountry lined up outside North Charleston's Dream Center on N. Rhett Avenue, some as early as 4AM.

The occasion was Cinderella Day.

The event is the brainchild of North Charleston's SeaCoast Church, in an effort to provide the full prom experience to girls who otherwise may not have had the opportunity.

The Dream Center was lined with gowns galore, shoes, accessories, and goodie bags.  The items were all donated, including gifts from national sponsors like the Miss Universe Organization, Chinese Laundry and nail polish line O.P.I.

"Even though this event seems to be about dresses and shoes and accessories it really isn't," said event Co-Chair Rebecca Linenger.

"It's about creating a moment of empowerment and self esteem for women."

Cinderella Day started in 2008 with 120 girls.  Organizers hoped to serve 350 this year, and came close to that goal within the first hour.

"This is the largest turnout that we have ever had," said Linenger.

R.B. Stall senior Gabriela Almengor attended the event for the first time.

"There's people who don't have the money or can't afford to buy a dress," she said.

"I'm sure every single girl feels amazing today.  Not just for me, but for hundreds of girls."

Cinderella Day also featured mini-makeover stations, complete with up-do tips and styling.  Girls were also treated to lunch, many while waiting for hours for their chance to pick out that perfect gown.

"There was an article that came out that said North Charleston was the seventh most dangerous city in America," said event Co-Chair Rebecca Linenger.

"A huge group from the community, SeaCoast Church and beyond, they were up in arms about that."

Organizers hope to use Cinderella Day as a platform to highlight one of many services provided within the North Charleston Dream Center.  Year-round, the organization offers clinical services, sports, along with a mentorship and youth program.

"And yeah, there are a lot of teary moments here," Linenger said.

"Happy tears.  Happy tears."

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