Princess Dress Project fulfills teenage dreams 

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2020

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DONALDSONVILLE — Tiffany Roussel has seen girls light up with happiness when they try on the perfect prom dress and see just how beautiful they will look on their special night.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Phi Sigma Omega Chapter is hosting its annual Princess Dress Project to ensure every girl gets an unforgettable high school experience. Approximately 85 designer prom dresses and evening gowns in various styles and sizes are available to local families at absolutely no charge on a first come, first served basis.

The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, March 7, at the George Blume Center, located at 1501 St. Patrick Street in Donaldsonville. All high school girls, including those from the River Parishes, are invited to attend. Free accessories will be available, and door prizes will be drawn to win services from various hair stylists and makeup artists in the area.

The Phi Sigma Omega Chapter serves St. John the Baptist, St. James, Ascension and West Baton Rouge parishes, according to Roussel. Wherever events are held, Alpha Kappa Alpha remains focused on “Service to All Mankind.”

In 2019, the local chapter did an Alheizmer’s fundraiser with line dance instructor Susan Bailey at REGALA Park. The sorors also gave back to Twin Oaks Nursing Home by donating shoes, slippers and other accessories collected through the Soles for Souls project.

Roussel said the Princess Dress Project started when one of the members of the chapter saw a similar event out-of-state. She saw the value it had in strengthening families and knew it was needed locally.

“It’s rewarding seeing the girls and their moms so happy,” Roussel said. “For the girls, being able to go to their junior or senior prom is one of their high school memories. If parents aren’t able to afford it, they won’t be able to go.”

Chapter president Donna Newsome said formal shoes, hair accessories, undergarments and evening purses will also be given away at no charge. Dry cleaning services will be offered as a raffle prize, in addition to hair and makeup services.

Dressing rooms are available, and girls are usually permitted to take home two dresses. Some girls opt to take a formal gown for prom and a shorter dress for the next homecoming season.

Newsome said parents in need are extremely grateful for the event.

“Prom dresses/evening gowns can cost upwards to $300 to $400,” she said. “Then when you add shoes and accessories, you can easily get into a $500 range, and many families don’t have that type of money. To be given a totally free ensemble for prom definitely has an impact on the families and community.”

The ladies of the local Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority chapter celebrated the Martin Luther King Day of Service on Jan. 20 at the Southeastern Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve.

The Phi Sigma Omega Chapter is a community service organization based on the sisterhood of the national Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority that was founded in 1908.

“We service the entire River Parishes, based on five targets that are part of our national program,” Newsome said, adding the community service projects can evolve based on the changing needs of the community.

The national targets include helping students attend college, women’s health, economic development, introducing students to the arts and global impact.

Newsome said the Princess Dress Project prepares students for college and contributes to a global impact, while also strengthening families on a local level.

Aetna Better Health of Louisiana and Big Brown Making a Difference are sponsoring the event.
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