This Project Donates New Dresses To Girls And Women In Need, Boosting Their Confidence In The Process

"Girls say they now have the confidence to attend their first dance."

The fashion industry is famous for making consumers feel like they never have enough, or that they need specific clothing to be beautiful. While we shouldn't fall for such advertising, sometimes a certain article of clothing can actually make us feel more confident. 

Not everyone has access to such luxuries, however, which is why non-profit charity organization The Believe in Yourself Project is providing underprivileged girls and women with new designer dresses for special school functions and other occasions. 

The project was launched a year ago by Sam Sisakhti, who founded UsTrendy a decade ago, the world's largest independent fashion eCommerce site. 

"I have grown increasingly concerned with the cyber bullying and body-shaming that I have seen online," Sisakhti told A Plus in an email. "At the same time, I realized the enormous social pressure that many young girls feel to try to be hip and socially cool by wearing clothing that is seen as stylish. Many girls are unable to afford these fashions, and can often feel ashamed socially. This inspired me to start Believe in Yourself."

Courtesy of Sam Sisakhti 
Courtesy of Sam Sisakhti 

While the initiative many be young, it is already making a difference for the many girls and women who are registered in various states to receive dresses for formal occasions. 

So far, the initiative has had donation events in Chicago, IL, New York, NY, and Washington, DC. Furthermore, they've had events in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. The goal for the company is for the dress donations to be available across the United States.

Courtesy of Sam Sisakhti 
Courtesy of Sam Sisakhti 

For the girls receiving the dresses, their reactions are about more than what the actual dress looks like. Sisakhti writes, "The reactions have been really heartwarming. I have had the privilege to meet some of the girls we are donating dresses to at our donation events and hearing their stories is humbling and touching."

"I have heard some of the girls say they now have the confidence to attend their first dance and feel beautiful, which is so amazing to hear."

On an emotional level, receiving a new dress is also a big moment for many girls. "I think it is really important that they get a brand new item rather than a hand-me-down. Many of them have told me that the new dress [they received] through Believe in Yourself is the first non-used item of clothing they have ever received."

Courtesy of Sam Sisakhti 
Courtesy of Sam Sisakhti 

In addition to expanding into every state, Sisakhti's plan for Believe in Yourself is to have reoccurring donations happening throughout the year.

Furthermore, he would like to offer an ongoing mentorship program for the girls as Believe in Yourself is part of a broader initiative. The project is currently in talks with influential women who have struggled with body image to serve as speakers and mentors to the girls within the program. 

He hopes people reading about the project will realize the pressure young people face to look a certain way and try to do something about it.  "I hope people are able to realize some of the social pressures which are created for young people with low financial means by the constant cynical consumer trends which come out each year," Sisakhti's says. "[I hope they] become more mindful that people with strained finances may not be able to afford this."

"I also hope people are also more mindful of the extreme pressure which young girls face to appear and look a certain way physically and also take their own part in not perpetuating this."

To get involved with Believe in Yourself, you can go to the project's website and make online donations. Believe in Yourself is also looking for mentors, volunteers, and retailers who can provide dresses.

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