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From CinciPulse - The Pulse of the City

You may be able to clean out your closet and make some young girls very happy by donating your cocktail dresses, prom dresses, bridesmaids dresses and party accessories to Kenzie's Closet. 

Kenzie's CLOSET®, is a unique nonprofit boutique  that provides complete prom outfits for financially-disadvantaged girls in Greater Cincinnati, will begin its seventh prom season -- and its seventh year of service.

Brynne Coletti, founder and executive director of Kenzie's CLOSET, has set a goal for meeting the needs of close to 550 young girls during the 2012 prom season at the organization's O'Bryonville facility. She remarked, "I continue to be inspired by the ongoing generous support of this community for this mission, especially by the involvement of the local public, school and business communities."


Coletti never fails to be touched on each of the students' shopping days. "I watch the transformation of the girls from the moment they shyly walk in the door at Kenzie's CLOSET to the point when they meet their 'personal assistant'. Once the girls have selected their prom dress, shoes, purse, jewelry, and wrap, and have received a photograph in their full outfit, a rose and a gift bag, it is a special moment. The change in the girls' spirits brings tears to your eyes - and oftentimes, to theirs."


Coletti clarified that the girls who are served during the spring season at Kenzie's CLOSET come from the area's inner-city, suburban and rural schools. Most have family household incomes of less than $22,000. "The students' names are submitted by high school guidance counselors, principals and social service agencies," Coletti explained.


"We are only limited by our funds, our donations of prom dress and accessories -- and by our number of volunteers. The requests to help students has grown every year, and we are turning over every leaf to ensure that no student referred to us this year is disappointed."


During the 2011 prom season, approximately 533 girls were outfitted with representation from 52 area schools, and through the help of 250 volunteers. Those total numbers compare to 87 girls from 10 schools who were outfitted with the help of a small group of 25 volunteers in the first year of operation in 2006.


There will be 15 shopping days scheduled for the 2012 prom season, with two additional sessions additional to serve the needs of disabled junior and senior high school girls.


Coletti described the fast, expert seamstress work behind-the-scenes as "just short of amazing". These special 'magicians' join us on the days that the students are at Kenzie's CLOSET making their selections and work quickly and brilliantly.


More than a third of the students who are outfitted at Kenzie's CLOSET need prom dresses that are in sizes 14 and up. Coletti explained that since the organization rarely receives donated dresses in those larger sizes, financial donations help make the dreams possible for students who need larger sizes. Appearance Plus Cleaners has donated dry cleaning services for many years to clean and press the new and gently-worn prom, bridesmaid, and cocktail dresses donated to Kenzie's CLOSET.


Kenzie's CLOSET was named after Makena 'Kenzie' Anne Comisar, who was tragically killed in a single-car accident in 2002 before she was able to attend her senior prom. Kenzie was a student at St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, and was known for her big heart and generosity.


For information on how to volunteer or donate dresses and accessories, or financial support to Kenzie's CLOSET, please visit www.kenziescloset.org or call 513.533-PROM (513.533.7766).


Kenzie's CLOSET is also active on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kenzies-Closet and Twitter - @Kenzies_CLOSET.



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