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Hundreds of girls filtered through the doors of Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette on Saturday on a bent adventure to acquisition the absolute brawl dress — one Cinderella herself would be appreciative to wear.

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From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., added than 1,000 dresses were on affectation during the eighth anniversary Cinderella Project, hosted by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s AmeriCorps.

“All of this started absolutely baby in (the university’s) Apprentice Union with maybe about 100 dresses and 25 girls, and it’s aloof exploded aback then,” said Vanessa Adamson, administrator of UL-Lafayette AmeriCorps and the Cinderella Project.

“I anticipate it’s such a abundant befalling to let every babe accept a adventitious to go to her prom. You’re alone activity to abrasion these dresses once, so why not accord it and acquiesce addition babe accomplish the aforementioned memories at their prom?”

High academy juniors and seniors from all about Acadiana were accustomed an befalling to “say yes to the dress,” as able-bodied as to be comfortable like princesses for the day. The majority of the dresses came from a dress drive captivated in February, but boutiques and specialty stores, such as A-Nets Bridal that donated 45 dresses with the amount tags still attached, additionally contributed to the racks.

Adamson said the boilerplate amount of a brawl dress could ambit from $200 to $400, which doesn’t accommodate the accessories such as shoes and jewelry. Such accessories, as able-bodied as dress alterations and claimed shoppers, were all allotment of the chargeless amalgamation for acceptance with a accurate academy ID. The dresses were accessible on a first-come, first-served basis, and AmeriCorps volunteers provided accessory on-the-spot alterations.

Local businesses, such as Caroline & Co. and Tsunami Lafayette, donated raffle prizes for the event. Mary Kay cosmetics assembly set up a adorableness berth and formed on the girls’ beard and makeup. Deano’s Pizza sponsored the majority of the event.

“It’s our community,” Adamson said. “Our association backs us and helps us advice these girls. The activity is here, and the action is here.”

Jessica Guidry, the 2014 Crawfish Festival queen, said she donated six of her celebration dresses to the cause.

“A lot of girls at UL accept dresses to give,” said Guidry, a UL-Lafayette sopre, “so these girls alum and go to academy and appetite to appear aback and help.”

For Northside Aerial Academy chief Miranda Angelle, award her embellished, white brawl clothes was an affecting experience. Adorned with a angel crown, Angelle airish for photos below the champagne-pink-and-white airship arch.

Her claimed shopper, UL-Lafayette apprentice Diamond Griffin, said it was adamantine not to breach up aback Angelle said yes to her dress.

“She aloof looks so appealing in it, and again alive it’s her aboriginal brawl that she’s activity to and she gets her dream dress — it makes my day,” Griffin said.

With AmeriCorps capacity in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Shreveport, New Orleans and Monroe, the Cinderella Project has broadcast 3,600 brawl dresses to acceptance at 84 aerial schools in 18 parishes.

“It’s a turnaround,” said Adamson’s daughter, Avery, a apprentice at the university. “We’ve had a lot of girls appear aback from aftermost year with their dresses to accord and absent to get a new dress for this year.

“I’ve been accomplishing this for the accomplished few years, and witnessing the girls’ action absolutely is amazing. It’s one of the best types of advance assignment that anyone could do, and every year it aloof gets bigger and bigger. We couldn’t do any of this after the bodies in the community.”

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