Fairy tales exist. But the reality offers fewer singing forest creatures and a lot more dresses.
Operation Fairytale is on a mission to make special prom memories possible for girls at Galt high schools who might not have the funds to buy their own formal gown.
Tucked away in the back corner of the cafeteria at Liberty Ranch High School in Galt is a closet stuffed full of every kind of ballgown a girl could imagine. Long, flowing satin dresses are crammed next to short lacy frocks with full skirts in a rainbow of colors.
In two weeks, any girl with a current student ID for Liberty Ranch, Galt or Estrellita Continuation high schools will be able to pick out a gently used dress at no cost. On March 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the cafeteria at Liberty Ranch will be full of girls shopping, trying on gowns and grinning from ear to ear. Volunteers will help girls choose dresses, as well as demonstrate hair and makeup ideas suitable for prom night.
"It's such a girl's day," said Miranda Dumas, 17, who will help out during the event. A small selection of shoes and jewelry will be available for girls to complete the prom look. Girls can also select dresses for family weddings, quinceañeras or other special events. When a girl finds a dress she falls in love with, it's hers to keep.
For now, about 110 garments lie in wait for Operation Fairytale. Some are being mended and cleaned by parent volunteers. There are not yet enough dresses for every single girl in need, but donations are still coming in.
Former Galt High student Kayla Cole, 20, dropped by the closet to deliver a small collection of dresses donated by her sorority, Chi Delta of California State University, Sacramento.
"A couple of these still have the tags on, I think," said Cole as she handed the garments to Laurie Bambas for inspection. Bambas works in the outreach office for Galt Joint Union High School District and has taken the lead on Operation Fairytale.
"The economy has made times difficult for a lot of families. It can be really expensive to go to prom. If we can help a girl out by providing the dress, that's great," she said.
Operation Fairytale began last year when Danielle Sanders, 17, collected gently used formal dresses for her Girl Scout Gold Award Project.
"I really like how the community was able to come together and donate so many dresses. It just goes to show that when someone puts down their hatred for a little bit, they can really accomplish something," she said. "It was really cool to see the smiles on the girl's faces when they picked out a dress. And I got to help them go to prom."
Sanders dreams of returning to her alma mater in 10 years to see the mission still going strong.
"I hope it's something that stays with the town," she said.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.