Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services on Moloka‘i, The Bella Project Hawaiʻi and Mokulele Airlines are playing Cinderella by offering 75 prom dresses at no cost to Moloka‘i youth who have no option but to travel off-island to purchase formal wear.
The Bella Project, an Oahu-based nonprofit, collects donations of dresses, shoes, jewelry and accessories and gives them away to high schoolers. The Bella Project also partners with nonprofit organizations that work with low income, special needs, critically ill and military high schoolers.
Bella means beautiful in many languages; the goal is to create “Bellas of the Ball,” according to the Bella Hawaiʻi program.
Mela Candelario, MEO Youth Services Program Specialist, had worked with The Bella Project in the past. On Nov. 27, the dresses were flown to Moloka‘i by Mokulele Airlines.
“Not all families can afford the accumulated cost of getting a prom dress,” Mela said. “For our Moloka‘i ʻohana, it’s not only the dress purchase but flight tickets, as well, to a Neighbor Island because we don’t have boutiques or formal dress shops on the island.”
MEO Youth Services is planning a giveaway of the dresses at no cost early next year at the MEO Moloka‘i office, Mela said.