Cinderella Affair organizers need a white knight | Community

GSN News Staff
6 Min Read

For 22 years, the East Valley Women’s League has offered high school juniors and seniors a chance to save a lot of money and find a free used prom gown and accessories.

But much like what happened to the fairy tale princess the event is named after, the nonprofit’s annual Cinderella Affair could evaporate after this year because it has lost its lease on the building where hundreds of gowns, shoes, purses and other accessories were not only distributed but also stored.

For now, the Cinderella Affair will take place 8 a.m.-3 p.m. April 6 and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. April 7 at The Castle, 411 N. McKemy Ave., Chandler. Any junior or senior girl can attend, but they must come with their school ID.

“We just feel every girl should have an opportunity and a chance to feel like a princess,” said Nancy Mann, an Ahwatukee resident who has been a member since 2014. “And this is a perfect way for them to do that. And so nobody’s left behind. Every girl any girl can come as long as they’re junior or senior with valid school ID. We don’t turn away anyone.”

But after this year, league members fear they won’t be able to hold an event that suited up 300 girls at a session earlier this month and draws over 1,000 annually. Mann said since the group started the Cinderella Affair in 2002, it has helped thousands of girls overcome the high cost of prom-readiness.

The problem with losing their lease doesn’t involve the “Cinderella days” but rather the other 353 days of the year when they store dresses and accessories and accept gowns donated by other girls. The league had used The Castle in Chandler the last eight years, but the building is now being sold.

For the most part, The Castle was used only for a few special events, though it also has been the meeting space for the league members.

“We knew a couple of months ago, but kept it under wraps because we kept thinking maybe we could find a building,” Mann said.

There’s also the issue of having enough woman-power to move all the gowns, accessories and furniture to a new place.

Launched in 2001 by two sisters, Tara Stainton of Tempe and Tracy Worischeck of Ahwatukee, the East Valley Women’s League counts only about 45 women from Mesa, Ahwatukee, Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe in their group.

“We’re here also to work and get some work done and need some people that are going to be compassionate and effective,” Mann explained.

In 22 years, the league has raised over $1.7 million, including over $370,000 in scholarships. “In the past 22 years, we have impacted over 40,000 lives,” Mann said. That includes over 10,000 high school girls who could attend their prom because of the league’s generosity.

Members must belong to two committees and each committee is responsible for organizing one of the league’s annual charitable outreach efforts.

Mann said “everyone was kind of sad for a while” after learning they were losing their lease until several members decided sad did not become a group that wants to get things done for the good of people who need a helping hand.

“So we’re going to give it a shot and hope that somebody will donate their building, which needs to be from 5,000 to 8,000 square feet to house all these dresses,” she said, adding the league hopes “maybe somebody will be a hero and step up to the plate.”

That hero needs to be willing to sponsor or donate a building, Mann added, “because we don’t have the budget to support a project of this caliber. So we need somebody to sponsor or donate more than a few years.”

“We don’t want to spend our money on that sort of thing,” she said of renting a building. “We want our money to go to projects like this and our other projects – not paying rent for something.”

Mann said she hopes there is a building owner in the East Valley with “a lot of empty space” who “would much rather have a tax write off and just let it sit there.”

Besides being large enough to accommodate all those dresses and accessories, the building must be located in the Southeast Valley “because that’s where all our members are,” Mann said.

As they wait for their white knight, league members are pressing forward not only with the Cinderella event but their other charitable activities.

As for their predicament, Mann said, “I don’t know that it’s upsetting but it creates quite a challenge for us, so we’re putting it out there and hoping that somebody will pick up on it.”

Anyone who wants to help can contact or [email protected].

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GSN News Staff , – Vivrr Local Results in community of type article , 2024-04-03 07:00:00
Tags: east valley women

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