Project Glam Girls has record-breaking year

By on March 19, 2023

Quinn Capps, founder of Project Glam Girls, stands with Delany Swain, a Manteo High School senior who lives with her.
Volunteer Melva Draper assists Larry Spencer during Project Glam Girl (and Guys) on March 18 at Manteo Faith Baptist Church.
Stephanie Stroud (right) and her 10th-grade daughter Lucy shop for a senior prom dress for her other daughter, Mary Katherine, at Project Glam Girls March 18.
Student volunteer Leila Goetsch (right) helps with the checkout at Project Glam Girls March 18. (Photos by Corinne Saunders/OBV)
Mary Katherine Stroud (right) chose a pink gown for her senior prom. Her sister Lucy Stroud, a sophomore, came to support her and tried on a blue dress at Project Glam Girls on March 18.
Delany Swain, a Manteo High School senior, and her prom date, Larry Spencer, both found formal attire Saturday at Project Glam Girls. (Photos by Corinne Saunders/OBV)
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More than 200 students fitted with free formal wear

“That’s it?” A mother was incredulous as a volunteer handed her the dress her daughter had picked out, now wrapped up in plastic to protect it from the elements.

The volunteer pointed her to the donation jar on the table—but that was, of course, optional. The whole purpose of Project Glam Girls is to allow young women and men to choose free formal wear for the prom season, with no strings attached.

There were spurts of rain showers on Saturday, March 18, but spirits were anything but damp at Manteo Faith Baptist Church. The church’s preschool room was converted into a boutique, complete with full-length mirrors and a backdrop where young people could have their photos taken in the outfits they selected.

The volunteers were as excited as the shoppers. Some of them manned the “checkout,” some hung rejected clothes back up and others directed shoppers to dresses or suits in their sizes. Conversations halted as volunteers offered heartfelt compliments and others came to see the shopper who had emerged from a dressing room. “That looks so good on you!” “Let me see!” “Oh, beautiful!”

Quinn Capps started the community Glam Girls project for a simple reason. “I was one of these girls,” she told the Voice. Prom dresses are out-of-budget for many families, she explained. A dress can currently run upwards of $300. Capps wanted to not only provide young women with stunning dresses, but to also create an uplifting shopping environment for them.

By all accounts, her vision of treating everyone as “queens and kings” is succeeding. More than 200 young people left the boutique with formal wear this year, substantially more than the 125 from last year.

“I think it’s a great thing, especially for all the ones shopping [who are] treated very special,” opined Stephanie Stroud, a mother of a high school senior who was dress shopping.

“It was really fun,” said her daughter, Mary Katherine Stroud, who selected a pink formal gown. “Everyone was really nice.”

Capps’ project swiftly expanded from its start to include young men, as well.

“Our men’s selection has grown; we’ve done quite a few men’s this year, actually,” said Jenna Dimmig, a dedicated volunteer, who’s been there from the beginning and who designed the Project Glam Girls logo.

“I didn’t expect them to have so much to pick from,” acknowledged Larry Spencer, a Saturday afternoon patron. He called the shopping process “quick and easy.” Spencer said of Melva Draper, the volunteer who assisted him, “She did great; she guessed my size on the first try.”

Community members donate dresses, suits, tuxedos, men’s and women’s shoes, jewelry, purses and even makeup, and these are stored in the church’s attic between annual boutiques.

“Any monetary donations, I usually use that for purchasing plus-size dresses…because we never have enough of those that are beautiful,” Capps said.

Yuliya Goping has volunteered as the onsite seamstress for boutiques the past seven years, doing everything from minor repairs—adding a button or zipper or fixing a small hole—to full-scale alterations. “She’s amazing,” Capps said.

“It takes a village,” said Goping, who is originally from a small town in Russia and views this as her God-directed way to serve others. “I love small towns…I feel at home.”

The boutique was open Thursday and Friday from 3:30 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students came from across northeastern North Carolina—including Edenton, Elizabeth City, Columbia, Creswell, Ocracoke and all over Currituck and Dare counties.

One young woman from Currituck came in Saturday morning “very sad” and didn’t even want to try dresses on, Capps said.

“I just started pulling some dresses and before I knew it, she was here forever and trying on all the dresses and left with a beautiful dress…ear-to-ear smiling,” Capps said. She and her mom plan to volunteer next year.

About 40 student volunteers from Manteo High School (MHS) helped during the three-day event this year. Many school clubs and organizations require community service and Capps welcomes volunteers from the community and from any high school. As a long-term substitute at MHS, “they all love me,” Capps said. “I stand at the front door, and I say good morning to every kid that walks in.”

Out of all the volunteer options available, “I really liked this idea,” said Leila Goetsch, a MHS 11th-grader. “It’s cool helping girls find dresses because it’s such a big part of high school.”

Grace Albarty, another volunteer and MHS junior, said she enjoyed both the diversity of customers and of dresses. “Anybody can come here and get a great dress for them,” she said.

WTKR, a television station in Norfolk, Virginia, came to cover the event Saturday morning and surprised Capps with an Everyday Hero award.

“I was like, ‘That’s not why you are coming,’” Capps said, stressing that it was all about the young people. “I cried through the whole thing.”



Comments

  • Glenn

    What a great initiative & program…kudos to all involved!

    Sunday, Mar 19 @ 1:24 pm
  • Courtney Quillin

    Sweet Quinn, I had no idea that you started this program. You are truly a hero. I cried through the whole article. God is shining down on you wonderful lady.

    Monday, Mar 20 @ 12:35 pm