For the past eight years, the organizers behind You Wear It Well have been providing students from all financial backgrounds the chance to pick out something to wear to their grad parties, but now they need help from the community in order to help even more students.
“We’re currently hoping to add Delta to the mix, but we’re a little bit short of funds right now so that’s why we’re contacting everyone we know to put the word out,” organizer Darcey Sudeyko told the Record.
The New Westminster-based charity serves students in New Westminster and Surrey (Surrey’s local organization, the Surrey Princess Project, folded in 2015). You Wear It Well collects donated formal clothing and accessories throughout the year and hosts a boutique day in the spring for students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to attend their grad party.
The boutique day happens every year in March, and it’s a special day for students who attend, according to Sudeyko.
“We’ve seen the difference it can make,” she said.
“We’ve had sort of a Cinderella moment where we saw kids that were coming in and they were very insecure and very self-conscious and they would leave with this sort of renewed self-confidence.”
The students arrive and are matched with a personal assistant who helps them shop for everything they’ll need for their grad party, including dresses, shoes and accessories. And it’s not just for girls, either. Boys are also included in the boutique day.
Once the student has chosen his or her outfit, they head over to the hair and makeup stations for a makeover. Tailors and seamstresses are also on hand to make sure the clothing fits perfectly.
Last year, 60 students took part in the event, which was held at Fraser River Middle School.
“We have a school liaison person and she’s been in contact with all the counsellors at all the schools in New West – the high school and the alternate programs – as well as the schools in Surrey. We haven’t dealt with the kids in Delta yet because we’re not sure if we can afford to take them on,” Sudeyko said.
If they don’t raise enough money to cover the Delta kids, the Vancouver-based Cinderella Project will be taking them on instead, she added.
Sudeyko said the charity is hoping to raise $10,000 to help pay for more inventory, renting a venue, providing food for the day and buying items to put in gift bags for the students. So far they’ve got about $5,000, she said.
“We give gift bags to the kids every year, with personal items like toothpaste and makeup and that kind of stuff,” she said.
You Wear It Well recently obtained its charitable status, so folks who make monetary donations will receive a tax receipt, Sudeyko said.
The charity is also accepting clothing donations, particularly plus-size dresses and large-sized women and men’s shoes. They’re also in need of more men’s clothing items, Sudeyko said.
Donations can be made online through a portal on the charity’s website or contacting Sudeyko directly.