LEICESTER, Mass. — Two years ago, Leicester resident Kimberly Gingras looked at her baby daughter Layla and vowed to make sure that girls in need don't miss out one of the biggest nights of their young lives — prom.
"My junior year, I had to choose between a dress that I had put on deposit and getting my license, and I ended up choosing my license because I needed to be able to make more money at that age," Gingras said.
Fortunately, a friend gave her a dress, which not only allowed her to attend her prom but also planted the seed for No Girl Left Behind.
What started as a small prom dress distribution at First Baptist Church in Worcester has grown into a multicommunity effort, and Gingras hopes to spread what she calls "the glitter effect" to even more girls in need this year by renting Mechanics Hall in Worcester for the April 7 event.
"In order to be able to have it there, we really need sponsorships," she said.
From beautiful dresses to shoes and accessories, and even updos from Rob Roy, so far more than 100 girls who might otherwise not have been able to pay the costs associated with prom night have been given the chance to sparkle like stars.
"I cry every year," said Gingras. "Every girl that walks in the door has a different circumstance that brings them there, whether it's family members dealing with illnesses, or they're foster children or affiliated with an organization in Worcester for children in need. It's really touching to know that my experience in life has been able to help people who truly need it."
Additionally, anyone with a gently used prom dress or bridesmaid dress can donate them. A drive will be held from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at 1420 Main St. in Worcester, the old Friendly's. Additionally, the Wachusett Regional High School Business Professionals of America will hold a drive from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 10. at the school in Holden.
"I'm so grateful for the whole community really coming together to help my dreams come true," said Gingras.