The Sparkle Network launched the Prom Closet Project Tour several years ago as a way of providing free formal gowns and accessories to teenagers and young women in need.
It was the brainchild of Moe Lietz.
Now, all kinds of groups are hosting similar events in Macomb County and that’s just fine with her.
“We started this with the hopes of reaching a couple dozen girls, and now we’re reaching hundreds,” said Lietz. “And we’re being copied — which is a really nice feeling.”
The idea for the touring closet was hatched when Lietz found out that a good friend could not afford to buy her daughter a dress for the prom. “It used to be that families shared their formal wear,” Lietz said. “One cousin would wear the dress and then pass it down to a younger sibling, cousin, or even neighbor, but that tradition died with the ‘me’ generation.”
So, she and a group of friends took it upon themselves to ensure their friend’s daughter would have the dress she needed. When word got out of their quest, a friend of a friend who knew an actress was given the dress that the actress wore for a red carpet event. The beadwork on the gown needed a little mending but that was no problem for Lietz, who has a background in fashion design. She also knows a seamstress who gladly volunteered her time to help.
The dress was beautiful, aqua blue with beads, to which the group added a pair of shoes, jewelry, and a new hairdo and makeup.
Once the prom dress recipient told the group how much she appreciated what they did and how she felt like a princess, there was no stopping them from doing the same for other princesses in need.
The free dresses for prom are now part of the work done by the Sparkle Network, a nonprofit organization that does charitable events like and acts of kindness for individuals and groups in the community. One example is a comedy event to benefit families dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s featuring the talents of Lietz, who, in addition to her other creative skills, performs standup comedy.
After launching the Sparkle Network, Lietz said, “We hope to inspire and be inspired by those who follow us and our activities, projects and crazy adventures,” which is exactly what’s happening.
For more information visit sparklenetwork.org
The following locations will be hosting the Sparkle Network’s tour of formal wear and accessories including hundreds of gowns, along with a few men’s suits and accessories:
• Children With Hair Loss, 12776 Dixie Highway, South Rockwood, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. April 29.
• Kitty Deluxe, 22202 Harper Avenue, St. Clair Shores, 12-4 p.m. April 30
• Celtic Sisters, 50935 Washington Street, New Baltimore, 10:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. May 5
• Billy’s Blends Coffee House, 31351 Harper Avenue, St. Clair Shores, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. May 7
Anyone interested in seeing the dresses is asked to schedule an appointment with Lietz via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the business you are planning to attend in the subject line, and two time slots that work for you. For additional information about upcoming events, “like” Sparkle Network on Facebook or follow it on Twitter at @sparklenetwork and Instagram at sparkle.network.