It’s in your schools, on your social media, and in our own backyards. Worldwide, the US is # 1 in child/human trafficking , a ruthless crime fueled by greed, power and sadistic desires and addictions. This is a FREE Zoom power hour class, coming up in March. Mark your calendars to hear an hour of human trafficking awareness, prevention, and personal testimony. This class is a must for youth, parents, and adults and is part of our Gamechanger Series. Featuring special guest, Nancy Aguirre, who is a crime prevention analyst specializing in the area of human trafficking. She worked for many years with Riverside County’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and the nonprofit organization Million Kids. She is also a professor in the Administration of Justice Department at Riverside Community College, teaching Crime and Intelligence Analyst classes. Please fill out an interest form at http://www.thedressesanddreamsproject.org and attend this class on March 26. Any high school student in attendance will receive two community service hours for participation. #gamechangerseries #dressesanddreamsproject #humantrafficking
It’s that time of the year again and our volunteer meeting on January 29 will be loaded with information, including the theme and vision for Operation Prom ( Grad) Girl 2022. We are seeking solid volunteers with time, talent, and/or treasure and individuals to hold leadership positions. We expect to serve 100 girls this season and let them leave our free annual event with a prom dress and other goodies, but most of all feeling DIGNIFIED. All who are interested in volunteering should begin by filling out the form on our website, and then attend our first meeting at Elevation Church in Menifee on January 29 at 10am. We are excited to see what God has in store this year; please feel free to share this information on your social media pages or with your sphere of influence!
After our large gown donation to US Military women, we are again opening up to collect gowns. We apologize to so many of you who reached out to donate who got turned away when we were at full capacity. Please see graphic for details. We accept new or very gently worn clean and fashion-forward gowns. We also accept new or gently worn fancy shoes, appropriate for special occasion-wear in black, silver, gold, or nude. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization and can offer a receipt for your donation.
We will be having our next volunteer meeting coming up on November 18. See post for details. High school students who volunteer with us will receive generous community service hours for their volunteerism and their attendance at events. To get started, please fill out the form here on this site and show up at the October meeting. Many opportunities coming up!
Our newest program,The Dresses For Heroes Program, led by Wendy Rubio, gave away 500 formal dresses to Camp Pendleton and 200 gowns, shoes, and accessories to Ft. Irwin late this summer as military balls approached. This year the military bases and programs has seen a great increase of individuals who desire to attend their military balls because of last year’s event cancellations and fear of an uncertain future due to the covid lockdowns. A huge thank you to Wendy, who served the US Army for 9 years, and for all of her effort to quickly coordinate, plan and execute our new program with the assistance of Founder, Dawn Schultz, that blessed many women who have hardships in our military. We love our men and women in uniform!
We are partnering with our US Military in SoCal to donate 700 dresses for military balls this year to Camp Pendleton and Ft. Irwin. ! These gowns will be received by military women and wives with the greatest need. Our Dresses For Heroes Program is is full swing as we swiftly answer the call to an overwhelming response of women who plan to attend this year’s military balls. We will be offering the public an opportunity to sponsor a dress for $1 and write a message on a tag that will be attached to the dress, as well as donate dresses in military ball- appropriate styles and colors. To donate, please visit http://www.thesressesanddreamsproject.org and see this flyer for in-person participation in the City of Lake Elsinore on August 26 from 4-6:30. If you have any questions or would like to arrange a dress drop off please contact Dawn at 951-457-1363.
God has a way of turning something dark and uncertain into something great, and there is a purpose and a lesson through challenging times and uncertainty. This was the case with The Dresses and Dreams Project. Last year, we were well into the planning stages of our 7th annual Operation Prom Girl event when the reality of a shut down due to a Covid pandemic hit. It was then more than evident that businesses and venues were closed indeterminately. We made an announcement that our event was cancelled and waited to take the next steps, not knowing it would be a year later, event planning season again, and we were still locked down and schools remained closed. I thought about how hard it has been on our students. With no certainty as to whether or not there would be proms in 2021, I knew there would be graduates and they deserved to be honored and adored! This, Operation Grad Girl- Bless a Grad Outreach was born. And I have to say, this may have been out best event to date. With a little over a month to plan, we hustled and collected donations, created goodie bags for each girl to receive with the help of Youth Leaders of Menifee, rounded up our service providers and finally got a yes for a location to have the dress giveaway when I asked Elevation Church Menifee’s Pastor Kasey Crawford.
Soon the word got out on Instagram, Facebook, and through flyers and emails. Girls who applied to our free program told stories of heartbreak and hardships on their applications. Even though we set a limit of 50 girls, we never turn anyone away. Over 65 young ladies were blessed this year- 20 of which drove as far as Victorville when we partnered with a wonderful woman from Victorville School District who worked diligently to make the arrangements with each student. The great thing about the program is that it goes much further than just a party of formal dress. When the girls attend, they are able to make life decisions or get urgent and emergent help. Our service providers include agencies that provide resources and immediate assistance for alcohol/drug addiction, domestic violence, human trafficking, pregnancy, self worth, college, career, life skills and more. Girls are also welcome to join the all-volunteer staff and pay it forward by joining our new Youth Ambassador program.
Each and every attendee this year was an encourager of her peers. The young ladies clapped and cheered for the others as they found their perfect gown. Menifee Police Department’s lady police officers mingled with the girls throughout the event and the atmosphere in the “house” was down-to-earth and authentic. Barriers are being broken and unity was evident at this event. The teens were so grateful, upbeat and were really happy about being out and being in-person at a function where they were able to meet new people and celebrate not only the mandates lifting, but their rite of passage as a graduate of the class of 2021.
Each girl received breakfast, lunch, a beautiful dress, raffle prizes, resources, and a coupon in their goodie bags for free photography session from Visual Impact Photography. Buffalo Wild Wings and Chick Fil A Murrieta provided meal coupons for all attendees. Macy’s Temecula donated our most stylish, fashion forward gowns and we are so overwhelmed by the generosity of our community.
Times of hardship can not only become a learning experience but if we are looking, we can find that in the midst of times where we feel the light has been dull and worn, as we make it to the other side of struggle, we can see the lessons that are birthed out of those hard times and press ahead with fresh gratitude and newfound joy which comes with a newfound sense of freedom.
We are so grateful to not only the girls who attended that filled our hearts with so much joy, but each and every volunteer of our all-volunteer organization and our community partners and friends that participated and made this day a success. Most of all thanks to God, who we trust even when we can’t see the whole road, but only the next step.
He makes all things work together for our good. No matter how bleak a situation may appear… See Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20
We are growing! And we want you to be part of this incredible season of blessing. We are looking for sponsors in and out of our communities to partner with us! In exchange for financial support, we offer several packages of incentives as our way of giving back to YOU, making it a true win-win partnership, while you support a fabulous cause. We have made it possible for everyone to participate, regardless of economic status!
The Dresses and Dreams Project is a fully volunteer operated 501c3 whose programs are always free to those with hardships and difficult circumstances. More than just a dress, we help girls so that they can live life to their full, God-given potential . For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to the 80 girls that are graduating this year who applied to have a chance to attend our event/dress giveaway to be held at Elevation Church, Menifee on May 8. We will be issuing tickets via email and text this weekend, and the ticket will be good for one admission, gown or dress of choice, goody bag, photo in dress by onsite photographer and a gift card from Visual Impact Photography, Menifee, for a free photo session and 8×10. We know we said we would select 50 recipients, but everyone’s a winner baby! Keep watching your emails for details!
The Dresses and Dreams Project has a volunteer meeting coming up on April 24, just before our Operation Grad Girl~ Bless a Grad Outreach. We are looking for women with a passion for vulnerable young women and a heart to serve with an amazing sisterhood of an all-volunteer organization.