Project Embrace

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Young girls in the Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods received a little help from some generous Latinas on May 2nd at the annual Project Embrace, an organization that provides complete prom outfits for girls facing financial strife.

“It’s a once in a lifetime experience. That day is full of so much fun and represents the conclusion of one chapter in a girl’s life and the beginning of another,” said Project Embrace Founder Juana Ballesteros. “We all know how hard the economy in recent years has been on many. This is the best time of their lives and I wanted to help out and make sure they didn’t miss out on such an important milestone.”

What started out as a simple idea Ballesteros had years ago, is now in its fourth year of providing hundreds of girls a chance to attend their high school prom with prom ready outfits including dresses, shoes, jewelry, and much more free of charge.

This year, Project Embrace partnered with Instituto Health Science Career Academy (IHSCA), 2520 S. Western Ave. IHSCA was transformed to mimic an upscale boutique with the help of 20 volunteers, who matched girls with the right dress. According to Ballesteros, Project Embrace has collected over 700 dresses. Project Embrace has held several fundraisers over the years; monies raised go toward purchasing prom tickets for randomly selected graduating girls.

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