Excitement was in the air as girls lined up with makeup and hair artists ready and waiting to glam them up for the Winter Formal Dance, beautiful gowns hung up and waiting to be worn. Everything was available to make Saturday night's dance perfect -- and all for practically no cost thanks to Kylinn Gunderson's brainchild 'Can Couture.'
"The idea came to me when we had been talking about girls getting ready for the dance," Gunderson said. "I tend to overhear girls talking about how expensive it gets just to attend winter formal; the hair, the makeup, the dress, the accessories. So I thought this would be a good way to help some girls out, let them know that they don't go unheard and that we want them there just as much as they want to go."
Gunderson decided to create "Can Couture," which would allow girls to have a dress for the small donation of six cans of food. Formal dresses were donated to the cause and the canned goods will benefit Poverello House. Even though girls are supposed to donate cans to receive a formal dress, Minarets activities and leadership director Chelsea Milliorn said many Minarets teachers were donating cans to make sure all girls had the opportunity to attend the winter formal.
To complement the dress project, Milliorn contacted Milan Institute in Clovis, a beauty training school, and the beauty school offered to have its students do hair and makeup free for the dance.
"It really took a load and burden off all the parents and it's fun seeing all the girls getting ready -- it's like a spa day," said Melissa Sloan of Madera while watching her daughter Shakoda Hodge get her makeup done for free Saturday. "Minarets goes above and beyond to help these kids."
Close to 25 students got their hair and makeup done for free before Saturday's dance.
"I wish I had something like this when I was in high school," said Christina Wynne, dean of education for Milan Institute in Clovis, of why she and a team of Milan volunteers donated their services Saturday. "We wanted to make sure every student doesn't feel left out or left behind. If we can do a little part to make their night memorable, why not?"
Milliorn said that as Gunderson's teacher, she wanted to make sure the event happened.
"She (Gunderson) is a fantastic student in my leadership class," Milliorn said. "I thought it was a smart and innovative idea and certainly timely in the economic condition of this country and also it's certainly a tremendous act of kindness."Gunderson, a junior, said the project is a "practice run" for next year's senior legacy project.
"I love this project and hope it continues long after I've moved on," Gunderson said. "I love the fact that girls feel involved and a part of our service just by donating their dresses. My goal is to get girls to go to our formal, girls that wouldn't normally think of going. I want them to feel noticed, appreciated and gorgeous for their winter formal."