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Prom Prep 101: Helping Foster Kids Experience the Joy of Being a Teen

Or Ami member Michelle Feinstein and her daughter Carly helped raise up a spark of holiness this month at Prom Prep 101. Michelle writes:

“We were like fairy godmothers getting Cinderella ready for the ball,” said Carly Feinstein (age 7 ½) of her experience in participating in the Prom – Prep Mitzvah. About 50 young foster girls ages 15-18 came from the Department of Children and Family Services to take part in making the Prom a beautiful memory. Most of these girls are able to go to their proms because of Prom Prep – 100. It was as magical an experience for them as it was for the over 75 volunteers who gave their time to assist in the process. We arrived at Bethel Lutheran Church in Encino to find that the classrooms had been transformed into Glamour stations for the girls to visit. Each volunteer was assigned a girl to spend the day with, and escort her through the process of selecting a beautiful gown to wear, choosing accessories to complete the ensemble from shoes, handbags and jewelry. We then continued with hair styling and makeovers by professional stylists, including manicures! Photographers were on hand to capture the before and after shots of the girls – they were lovely!!! The afternoon was culminated by a runway presentation, an inspiring speaker and a luncheon. “I was so proud to be a part of making the day so nice for someone who truly needed it. It was a great opportunity for my daughter and I to do this together – we will certainly do it again next year!”

Joanna Gould, who attended the event this year and last year and whose mother Susan Gould helped organize Or Ami’s participation in the event, spoke in her Bat Mitzvah d’var Torah (speech) about the longer lasting relationships that develop from these mitzvah opportunities:

I also volunteered at an event called “Prom Prep 101” where teenage girls in foster care attend a special event to select a dress and accessories to wear to their prom. I met this amazing girl named Kaylee there and we have kept in touch ever since. My family is mentoring her. In addition, I have been sponsoring a little girl named Andrea who was severely burned in an accident. We helped make her life easier by getting an air conditioner for her so that she would not be so miserable in her compression garment. I also was able to take her shopping for items at the Mervyns’ Holiday Child-Spree event last month.

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