Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A bit of bibbidi bobbidi boo, and Pasco teens get a prom wish


Michelle Vernon was surprised at how good the dress felt when she slipped it on. Michelle, a blond soccer player with a slim but athletic body, never wears dresses. It was strapless, a lovely periwinkle blue satin, with beading at the top and then skimming her body till a flourish at the bottom, just enough of a kick that made Michelle want to twirl.

"This will be my first prom," she said Saturday, as she stood holding her dress in a Trinity parking lot with her grandmother, mother, two aunts and a cousin. Michelle, 18 and a senior at River Ridge High School, didn't think she could afford to go. But then her grandmother, Willa German, was at the doctor's office and talking with a nurse about how she wanted Michelle to attend the dance but worried how the family would come up with the hundreds of dollars it costs, including the dress, shoes, jewelry, hair, nails, dinner. The nurse grabbed a newspaper and showed German one thing that could help: an announcement for the Cinderella Project, which started four years ago in Pasco County and donates new and gently used dresses, accessories and shoes to young women for prom. There also is a Prince Charming Project that helps young men get $75 coupons for tuxedos.

More than 120 girls were helped by the project last year.

"It's about making these girls feel special," said Laurie Weiss, one of the organizers. The Project has two locations — one at the Shops of Longleaf, 3410 Town Ave. in Trinity, and Calvary Assembly of God, 13544 U.S. 98 Bypass in Dade City. They will be open again from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, the last day this season. Girls need to bring only a school ID. For more information, call (727) 858-1281.

No young woman leaves without a dress, Weiss said. There are hundreds from which to choose and volunteers to help find the right one, though Michelle didn't need much more of an audience as she tried on dozens of dresses because five of her relatives were there. After two hours of searching and then finding the dress she always dreamed of, Michelle seemed tired, but happy.

"She'll look like a princess," said her aunt, Shannon Elzey.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (813) 909-4609.

Dresses and tuxes

The Cinderella Project, which provides high school girls with free prom dresses, shoes and accessories donated by the community, will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. This will be the last day the project will be open this year. The only thing the girls must bring is a school ID. The project sites will be open at Shops of Longleaf, 3410 Town Ave. in Trinity, and Calvary Assembly of God, 13544 U.S. 98 Bypass in Dade City.

There also is a Prince Charming Project that helps young men with the cost of prom wear. Those who qualify can get a coupon for $75 off a tuxedo at Sacino's Formal Wear. The money comes from three places: $25 from the Prince Charming Project, $25 from the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union and $25 from Sacino's Formal Wear.

For information about the projects, call (727) 858-1281.

A bit of bibbidi bobbidi boo, and Pasco teens get a prom wish 04/20/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 21, 2008 3:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.