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Charitable organization dresses for success

April 27, 2012
By Kathleen Palumbo , Town Crier correspondent

It's an age-old school dance scenario: a girl dreams of being asked by that special boy just as that special boy agonizes over the perfect way to ask her. Unfortunately for some, circumstances may not always allow for the coveted "yes."

Enter Diva Donations, a formalwear lending organization meant to ensure that cost issues don't have to put an end to a young girl's fantasy of attending a formal affair and about which its founder, Kristin Bodendorfer says, "It came out of a need."

"Our mission is to provide formalwear to girls for special occasion dances such as prom, homecoming, and sweethearts," said Bodendorfer, adding that they choose to refer to the frocks as suitable for a variety of special occasions.

"The group is about helping moms, dads, grandpas or anyone else make a girl's dream day perfect without breaking the bank," said Bodendorfer.

Through a very minimal deposit, which is fully refunded upon return of the loaned items, Bodendorfer is able to use the donated formalwear to pay it forward again and again.

As the mother of five, four of them daughters, Bodendorfer said she saw a need for a program like this in our area, adding that it was when her daughter Amelia Bodendorfer was a student at Poland Seminary High School that the idea began.

"I had a lot of friends throughout high school who weren't able to afford dresses," Amelia said, with Bodendorfer adding that she would offer up the dresses she would pick up at bargain basement prices.

With the seed for Diva Donations sown, Amelia, now a 22-year-old Youngstown State University student, has joined forces with her mom as the venture continues and momentum grows.

Calling the group "very shoestring" right now, Bodendorfer said with the help of Facebook and other networking media, Diva Donations has approximately 15 dresses, as well as shoes and accessories.

Bodendorfer has dreams of her own, sharing that down the road, she would love to expand upon the idea, perhaps being able to offer hair, makeup, flowers and nail services as well as the ability to network with other similar organizations as they reach out to help area girls.

"There's a need it's a stress, and no one should miss out," said Bodendorfer of the niche Diva Donations fills. Going on to offer up her philosophy on making the formalwear available, "Everybody deserves to be a diva one night," she said.

Anyone either interested in donating a dress, or in need of one can find Diva Donations on Facebook, or can contact Bodendorfer direct at



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