Grade seven student, Shanny Roberts, tries on dresses at the 44 Dresses Boutique Day
More than 100 grade seven girls in North Vancouver will look and feel amazing during their grade-seven farewell ceremonies this year thanks to the generosity of the North Shore community. Now in its third year, 44 Dresses is a program organized by Norgate Elementary School principal Lisa Upton and Sofiabella owner Elena Grant. The program collects beautiful donated dresses and shoes, and then provides them for free to grade seven students through a pop-up shop at the North Vancouver School District central office on Lonsdale.
“Our generous sponsors and team of wonderful volunteers ensure that every girl that attends our 44 Dresses Boutique Day is treated to a truly special day. We assist them in finding the perfect outfit while providing scrumptious goodies, refreshments and goody bags in a party-like atmosphere with music and decorations. It's not just about the dress but also about the experience. We want each girl to feel valued and celebrated,” said Grant.
The program started out of recognition that not all students can afford elegant outfits for their grade seven farewell celebrations.
“Transitioning from elementary to secondary school is a milestone in our students’ lives. We want to make sure that all students are able to fully celebrate this achievement. It really does make a difference when students feel great at their grade-seven ceremonies,” said Upton.
The program also includes dress shirts for grade seven boys.
In addition to the community support in the form of clothing donations, many other community partners also helped make this year’s 44 Dresses a success. Sofiabella Tween Clothing Boutique, North Vancouver School District, Posy Florist, Fresh St. Market and West Coast Beauty Supply were all sponsors of the event.