2009-04-30 / Top Stories

Gowns Galore Ready For Saturday's Prom Dress Giveaway

By Dara Mormile

Tracy Rousseau and Tamara Speid show a couple of the beautiful gowns that will be given away free Saturday. Dara Mormile       Tracy Rousseau and Tamara Speid show a couple of the beautiful gowns that will be given away free Saturday. Dara Mormile Young women eager to attend their high school prom may be discouraged by the slumping economy when it comes to buying a new dress. Thanks to Canarsiens Tracey Rousseau and Tamara Speid, founders of the not-for-profit organization "Cinderella Divas," more than 200 high school seniors from all over Brooklyn will receive free prom dresses during a special "Prom Dress Giveaway" this Saturday, May 2.

"They're always going to remember prom night," Rousseau said. "We want to help them look and feel beautiful and know that they can reach their goals in life."

Rousseau is a full time preschool teacher and Speid works in sales. Despite their busy schedules, they have been working diligently for the past six weeks coordinating the prom dress giveaway, taking place from noon to 4 p.m. at the Lime Lounge in Flatbush. The team has collected over 150 dresses so far.

"Tamara and I contemplated how we can give back to the community and help teens, so we met on a weekly basis, planning, calling all of our friends and reaching out to local merchants for donations," Speid said. "We even posted requests on networking sites and other donations have been flooding in from friends of friends and families living all over the country. It's amazing how giving people can be."

Rousseau said in order to qualify for a free dress, teens are required to register for the event through their school's prom committee.

"Those facing financial difficulties, who can also stay focused and motivated in their studies, are chosen to attend the dress giveaway," she said. "We worked closely with principals and teachers from various schools and created guidelines."

"The Cinderella Divas project has no sponsors," Rousseau said. "And it's about more than just supplying prom dresses for young women, it's about encouraging them to pursue their dreams and plan their future the way we have through generating this organization. Working hard and having a goal is a great message to get across to today's teens. We want them to remain hopeful that someone out there is helping them - especially when there's so much negativity in the world.

"We have siblings and we know how expensive it can be to attend the prom," Rousseau added. "But some people are a little cautious when we first tell them we're collecting prom dresses, but there is a joy about giving back to the community and not expecting anything in return"

Rousseau and Speid said they would like to make this an annual charity event and, in the future, include tuxedo and suit giveaways for men.

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