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Operation Princess Project

Being a Stylish Collegiette isn’t all about getting all of the latest season’s fashions; sometimes it’s about giving back, too. We think it’s very important for students to be aware of Volunteer UCF and the organizations making tremendous efforts to promote good causes and local charities within our college community. This past Friday, Feb. 22, we had the opportunity to get to know the girls behind Operation Princess Project, an annual prom dress drive put on by Orlando’s XL 106.7 and Volunteer UCF. All week they’ve been collecting new or gently used prom dresses for girls who cannot afford them on their special night. Johnny’s House, the pop rock radio show on XL 106.7 has been helping high school girls of Central Florida find their dream dresses for the last six years and collected over 3,000 dresses in last year alone! Shelby Olson, a senior who has been part of Volunteer UCF for years, has organized this prom drive for its very first year at our university. And even though the event is over, you can still bring dresses to the Volunteer UCF office in the Student Union until next Friday, March 1 or check out all of their events and opportunities for students at http://osi.ucf.edu/vucf.

Shelby, along with her committee members Jasmine, Jen and Shalini, usually work with Volunteer UCF’s Health Services. They put on events such as races and charity events by the Ronald McDonald House. Shelby was looking online for charities to donate old prom dresses to and stumbled upon 106.7’s Operation Princess Project. She realized how great of an opportunity it could be to bring to UCF, especially since many of the Stylish Collegiettes haven’t even looked at their old prom dress in years. She spoke to her supervisor, and now they are hosting the dress drive until this Friday. While Operation Princess Project is specifically for prom dresses, Shelby and her committee is hoping that all types of dresses will be donated. They hope in the future that, with the dresses that aren’t prom-appropriate, they can hold a charity fashion show. This driven group of girls is brimming with ideas, so we’re sure that whatever they decide to do will be absolutely fabulous. Dresses can be donated up until this Friday in the Volunteer UCF Cubicle, which is located on the 2nd floor of the Student Union in the Office of Student Involvement. 

On top of doing their own good deeds, Operation Princess Project has teamed up with another organization called Dressed In Hope, whose goal is to provide impoverished girls in Africa with handmade clothing and toys. Each girl gets an adorable dress paired with a doll or a necklace. Joanne Porreco, the founder and director of Dressed In Hope, was at the event with a table covered in lovely plush hearts made out of the same materials used to make the clothing. All of those who donate $10 or more get one! Joanne told us that she got the idea for making dresses for the girls after remembering the special dresses that impacted her life – her first day in kindergarten, middle school graduation, prom, and her wedding day. She thinks that every girl, no matter where in the world, deserves to have that special dress. Some other organizations they have partnered with are Dress A Girl Around The World and Hope 4 Women, which both work with people in America and 58 other countries suffering in poverty. These organizations are teaming up to work towards their big goals of funding schools and clean water wells in Africa.

If you’re feeling inspired and looking to get more involved with these organizations, make sure to stop by the Lake Claire Pavilion on Saturday April 6. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., they will be educating students on how to make a difference in a child’s life. They will be sewing dresses, having vigorous courses in which students can experience what it’s like to be in the shoes of these impoverished children, and doing other hands-on activities. Come out and learn about the many causes that Volunteer UCF promotes, all the while giving all future Stylish Collegiettes the chance to be as fabulous and on point as you are. 

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