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Local Non-Profit Creates Happily-Ever-After Proms

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Michele Backus and Ashley Taylor, organizers of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party for Once Upon a Prom.
Rebecca Sheir
Michele Backus and Ashley Taylor, organizers of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party for Once Upon a Prom.

By Rebecca Sheir

You wouldn't think holiday sweaters and prom dresses have a lot in common. But a local non-profit has brought them together, to help underprivileged teenage girls in the D.C. area.

You know that sweater your Aunt Ethel gave you, the one with the sparkly snowflakes, the glittery wreaths? Ashley Taylor sure does, because, well, shes wearing it.

"It's beautiful," she says, "and especially ugly."

Taylor's hosting an Ugly Christmas Sweater benefit for Once Upon a Prom, the non-profit she founded to provide underprivileged teenage girls with prom dresses.

"I think that prom can be a defining moment for teenage girls," she explains. "And a lot of these girls cannot afford a really nice dress."

Once Upon a Prom collects hundreds of frocks from individuals and retail establishments, and distributes them across the D.C. area.

Taylor says, "You watch the faces of these girls and you feel like you've made a difference."

She hopes this benefit will make a difference too. Proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund Once Upon a Prom has started, to increase educational opportunities for teenage girls from low-income families. Because you need more than a pretty dress for a happily-ever-after prom. You need to get through the school year.

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