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  Gowns for Girls an Overwhelming Success

May 23, 2014 15:39 ET

Fairy godmothers were out in force on May 20, cleverly disguised as DRP officers, as girl after girl found the perfect dress to wear for their graduation.

More than 75 teens attended the Gowns for Girls event at Central Collegiate in Oshawa, and left with dresses, shoes and jewelry, along with gift certificates for hair and make-up, so they could celebrate the end of the year in style.

“I heard about a similar initiative from a community member in Bowmanville, and I thought if there’s a need in this community, there will be a need in every community,” said event coordinator and Youth Officer Cst. Joylene MacNeil.

Originally, Joylene reached out to one school in Oshawa with 50 dresses in hand, but after posting the event internally to members of DRPS and the Region of Durham, and then posting it on the Service’s website, Twitter and Facebook page, the event went viral. More than 350 dresses, shoes and accessories were donated, along with monetary donations from community partners to ensure the girls could finish their looks.

“The response from everyone has been amazing,” said Cst. MacNeil. “The way everyone stepped up to the plate has been astounding.”

After such an outpouring of support, the event was opened up to all graduating girls in Grades 8 or 12 from across Durham. Community members continue to reach out to donate dresses and there are plans to host another event in June, and next year aim to include boys. Any leftover items will be stored for next year or donated to charity.

“When I started planning this event, I thought if I can put a smile on one girl’s face, it will be worth it,” said Cst. MacNeil. Seventy-five smiles and counting.

Special thanks to the officers, volunteers and community partners who helped make this happen:

Ms.Jadoon Central Collegiate
Central Collegiate
Police Appreciation Dinner and Awards Night Committee
Durham Regional Police Association
Cadet/Sketchley Toronto
Chris Walker
Lia Sophia Joalee Radford Advisor and Corporate
JP Tailoring Oshawa
Shoppers Drug Mart (Park/King) Oshawa
Shoppers Drug Mart Oshawa Centre
Shoppers Drug Mart Port Perry
Flawless Dry Cleaners Port Perry
Carol Baker Visage Oshawa Centre
Sears Oshawa Centre
The Bay Oshawa Centre
Career School of Hairstyling
Trade Secrets
Yves Rocher
Walmart (Harmony North)
Tim Hortons Simcoe South Oshawa
Party City Oshawa
Play It Again Val's (Ajax)
Sobey's Oshawa
Swavorski Crystal
Tonic Hair Salon
Bunny Wright
City Wide Taxi

Below are attached files.
dress thumb (JPG file, 41.4K bytes)
Cst. MacNeil helps Eryn put together the perfect outfit (JPG file, 374.6K bytes)
Cst. Reid lends a helping hand (JPG file, 335.0K bytes)
Cst. Kavanagh helps the girls make a tough decision (JPG file, 459.1K bytes)
Sara gets some advice from D/Sgt. Bawden (JPG file, 486.4K bytes)
DRP civilian member Zel helps with the finishing touches (JPG file, 404.7K bytes)
Cst. MacNeil adds some bling to Andrea's hair (JPG file, 322.2K bytes)
Our dedicated team (JPG file, 378.3K bytes)