A slipper for all

Cinderella's Closet

Taylor Tuggle

T. Tuggle

Prom season is coming up soon, and the pressure to find the perfect dress is on. An issue that some families have to deal with is the financial toll that buying shoes, a dress, and jewelry can put on them.

It has been said that a prom dress is not a necessity to life, however, it is nice to dress up and feel loved. An organization that helps those in need of prom dresses find dresses for free is called Cinderella’s Closet. Since 2007, Cinderella’s Closet has served over 2,000 girls. 

Cinderella’s Closet started with a woman named Erin Peterson. Peterson was in a consignment shop when she overheard a young woman talking about how worried she was that she wouldn’t be able to afford a prom dress. She was trying to figure out how she was going to save up when Peterson approached her and offered to pay for her dress. The girl’s reaction was wonderful. She started crying and told Peterson “I’m going to look like Cinderella!” Thus, the name Cinderella’s Closet came about.

Peterson founded Cinderella’s Closet in Kentucky in 2007. Peterson and Sara Mosteller, director of Cincinnati’s Cinderella’s Closet, met in the fall of 2009. After meeting Peterson, Mosteller said, “I knew immediately that I wanted to do what she did in Kentucky for high school girls in Cincinnati. I am a teacher and hearing Erin’s story of helping this high school girl brought to mind faces of so many of my students. I knew that I wanted to offer girls in our area this same opportunity.” Mosteller officially brought Cinderella’s Closet to the Cincinnati Dayton area in 2010.

As a director of the organization, Mosteller is able to watch the change in the girls’ feelings from when they walk in to when they walk out. This is the most rewarding part of the experience, as she put it, “Watching the girls feel transformed is definitely my favorite moment. There is a visible change in the girls’ demeanors between when they walk in the door wearing their regular clothes and when they are standing on the pedestal in their gown. Smiles are bigger, posture is better, and you can tell the girls feel proud of their beauty. The volunteers at Cinderella’s Closet have a unique opportunity to pour worth and value into high school girls when there are so many voices telling girls they are not enough (not pretty, or thin, or smart…enough).”

Part of what makes Cinderella’s Closet so special is the sense of community that it creates. Girls from high schools all around the area are able to donate dresses to the organization, giving their dresses that they wore for one night a second life. This “second life” mentality is key to the separation that these girls create for themselves, there’s a “prom-me” and an “everyday-me”. Mosteller explained that a lot of these girls tend to be overlooked in situations in everyday life, and it makes them appreciate this opportunity even more. “Many of these girls are referred because of the financial burden of prom, but not all of them are. We’ve helped many girls who just need someone to love on them and speak worth and value into them.”

As a mission statement, Mosteller added “Cinderella’s Closet turns dresses into dreams. More than just providing a prom dress, shoes and jewelry all for free, we want each princess to leave knowing that she is beautiful and cherished.”

Terry Kahn, of the Kings guidance department, requested that it be reiterated that Cinderella’s Closet clients must be sure to have a referral made by a school counselor, school staff member, or social worker. Cinderella’s Closet is just for junior and senior girls attending high school. Kahn also said that any students with questions regarding the organization should ask a teacher/counselor they’re close to to contact Sara Mosteller.

For those interested, they should ask that a teacher, counselor, or social worker fill out this Princess Referral Form.

Appointments are given on a first come first served basis. Ms. Mosteller starts sending Appointment Certificates to confirm appointment times in March.

Cinderella’s Closet of Greater Cincinnati is open for one weekend only this prom season. Appointments will be available on Friday, April 10th from 6:00-8:00pm and on Saturday, April 11th from 10:00am-12:00pm. Appointments will be made on the half hour and will last about 1.5-2 hours. All appointments must be made through a school or organization contact. Students should not contact Cinderella’s Closet directly to schedule an appointment.

Important forms for staff members assisting participants:
1) Cinderella’s Closet Referral Information – Provides a brief background of Cinderella’s Closet, an introduction to their mission and details about the referral process.
2) Princess Invitation Letter – Used to introduce girls to Cinderella’s Closet.
(Both forms are in the email previously received by staff members regarding the organization and are in Adobe Reader format.)

Staff members should contact:
Sara Mosteller
Director, Cinderella’s Closet
Center Pointe Christian Church

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