Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:41PM - 510 Views

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Rachel Baldwin

Staff Writer

WILLIAMSON — The Education Room of the Williamson Memorial Hospital (WMH) took on an entirely different look on Saturday, as beauticians, makeup artists and nail technicians set up shop as they prepared to perform multiple makeovers, transforming several teens from the girl next door, to a Cinderella princess.

The “Cinderella Project” was created by April Toler-Mullins, a Registered Nurse who remains employed on a PRN basis with WMH, who had the desire to provide a wonderful prom experience for students who needed financial assistance. Mullins, along with a dedicated group of volunteers, gathered in donations of dresses, shoes, jewelry, and bouquets to make the Mingo Central, Tug Valley and Belfry High School’s proms a night to remember.

The excited females began arriving early Saturday morning and were treated to a hairstyle of their choice, makeup, nail painting and nail art, and were allowed to choose from a large variety of jewelry that had been donated by individuals and area merchants to complement their gowns. Bouquets tailor made to match their dresses were created and donated by Alicia Kinder.

Mirah Stacy, a senior at Mingo Central High School, was one of the many girls who participated in the makeovers, and wore a beautiful prom gown that was donated by Diane Luensmann, who serves as the Public Relations Director for U.S. Congressman Nick Joe Rahall at our nation’s Capitol. Luensmann had read an article about the Cinderella Project in the Daily News and contacted Mullins, requesting an address to mail several dresses and accessories that she personally wanted to donate to the cause. When Stacy came in to search for a gown, she said it was love at first sight when she seen the purple dress that had been shipped from Washington, D.C.

“I had looked everywhere for a dress that was the style I wanted and that would fit,” remarked the teen. “When I tried the beautiful, purple gown on, it was a magical moment. It fit like it had been made especially for me and was exactly what I wanted.”

Stacy, along with several other girls expressed their appreciation to all those who donated items and their time to make the Cinderella Project a roaring success.

“This was a wonderful idea that has helped so many girls be able to attend the prom that wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise,” stated Brenda Jude, a family member of one of the teens taking advantage of all the free services that were offered. “My niece lives with her grandmother and they struggle just to pay the bills. She wanted to go to the prom but knew she couldn’t afford the type of dress that everyone else would be wearing, or get her hair and nails fixed.”

“This was an answer to our prayers. When we heard about the Cinderella Project, we were tickled to death to know she would be getting a dress but we had no idea she would get shoes, jewelry, flowers, her hair fixed, nails painted and her picture taken free of charge. The women who sponsored this event and donated their time and energy to perform these good deeds are my heroes; their hearts are definitely in the right place. I wish there were more people like them in the world.”

The volunteers that joined forces with Mullins were Sally Irick, Alicia Verney, Lori Farley, Alicia Kindrick, Kim Evans, Rachel Baldwin, Jamie Queen, Sandra Dean, Janaya Canterbury, Stephanie Damron, Glady Scott, Amy Johnson, Crossroads for Women, the Mingo County Stop Coalition and the Williamson Memorial Hospital.

“I can’t thank everyone enough that helped us achieve our goal,” said Mullins. “Whether you donated a dress or other accessories, helped to do hair, makeup and nails, whatever part anyone played in this event we want to say thanks from the bottom of our hearts. The economy in the Tug Valley area has suffered, and we hope we played a part in taking stress and worries off of families who didn’t know how they were going to be able to afford the expensive price tag that goes along with a prom.”

“All the girls looked absolutely beautiful and we hope they enjoyed their special evening as much as we enjoyed helping them be able to go in style!”

The second and final round of the 2013 makeovers will take place this Saturday, as volunteers gather to assist the female students attending the Tug Valley High School prom.

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