It was a Cinderella evening and not an ugly stepsister or even a mean girl was in sight.

It was certainly a night to remember for high school girls who are currently in foster care. Every girl wants the chance to feel like a princess, even it is only for one night and girls in foster care are not any different. Most won’t ask their foster parents for the money needed to get their special dress and needed accessories.

On this special night, with some help from volunteers from the community got together for a day and night of pampering and fun.

Girls in jeans and sneakers disappeared into shimmering satin and tulle gowns and emerged lovely, poised young women. The purpose of the event  was to outfit teens in the foster care system who wished to attend their high school proms this spring in style.

When they arrived there were racks bulging with gowns of every color, style and fabric. In addition, there tables with shoes, evening bags and jewelry.  Hair and makeup experts were on hand to make each and every girl feel like a princess by the end of the night.

This year, the event was bigger and more lavish than ever. The Courtyard in Groves was the venue where volunteers from Valero, The Jr. League of Beaumont, Mary Kay consultants, SETX Career Institute of Silsbee, Touch Stone Jewelry Consultants, The Service League of Port Arthur, The Quota Club, CASA, high school students from PNG High School and many other volunteers and community groups partnered with Child Protective Services to make this event possible.

“Tons of gowns were donated by the citizens of Orange County and they were beautiful,” said Shari Pulliam of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Shelly Manning along with friends and members of North Orange Baptist Church gathered more than 40 gowns for the event. Everyone became involved in the project, young and old. Some of the people who donated did not have a gently used dress to donate and instead purchased a gown for the event. As more and more dresses were donated and each more beautiful than the last, the women became more enthused about the project and vowed to make it an annual event.

“What a blessing it was to help these girls,” Manning said.

The Jefferson County Child Welfare Board underwrote the cost of everything else with help from other various Child Welfare Boards from around the Region including Orange County.

One High School junior at the “prom,” said when she got the invitation and she had no idea what a lavish event it was going to be. “I think it’s a good opportunity for us to experience,” she stated.

She eventually picked out a one shoulder style black and hot pink dress with a ruffled skirt donated by Fleur de Chic of Orange.

Another teen attending, was looking glamorous in a beaded apricot one shoulder gown.

“I think it was real nice for CPS to think of us and help us out with prom,” she said, adding it also was a good opportunity to get out and make new friends.

One young lady stepped out of a dressing room in a stunning magenta number with an intricately beaded bodice and full tulle skirt. The magenta set off her skin tone perfectly, and she’d found shoes and an evening bag to match. There was only one tiny hitch; a zipper was broken. A swarm of women and girls surrounded her to brainstorm solutions to the problem. It wasn’t long before she was ready and the belle of the party.

“This is a great example of what team work will do to make one girls night be a dream come true, “Pulliam said.

But, the girls were not the only ones pampered this year. High school boys were treated to lunch provide by Buffalo Wild Wings, hair cuts donated by Sports Clips in addition to white shirts, vests and ties of their choice from Al’s Formal Wear paid for by The Mid-South Jefferson County Community Partners. They also arrived in style to the dinner and dance that night provided by the Tri-City Corvette Club. The young men said they had never felt so special in their lives and they couldn’t wait to arrive at the Prom in style.

“This was the 8th annual “Girls Night Out” Prom Project for Region 5, and it proved to be the grandest of all,” Pulliam said.

Once the party is over, the girls and boys take home their new attire so they can use it at the prom where they attend high school.

After picking out a dress and being pampered, girls in foster care prepare for their prom night.