WACONIA, Minn. - Every writer of folk tales knew it. If you're going to throw a ball, you need a fairy godmother. Hundreds of Minnesota teenagers have one.
Based out of her Waconia tailor shop, Jeri Kuecks has given away more than a thousand prom dresses, the past seven years, to teenage girls who might not otherwise be able to afford one.
"It's just fun to make them happy," says Kuecks.
The donations started when Kuecks' son told her of a high school classmate who was going to miss her prom because her parents couldn't afford a dress. Kuecks now works with guidance counselors at two dozen schools to identify students she can help.
All the girls are measured and fitted during appointments at her shop, Vista Images. They chose from hundreds of dresses - some brand new and others used only once - donated by stores or former prom attendees.
"Don't we all want to feel like a princess at some point?," asks Kuecks, who wasn't able to attend her own high school prom and still regrets it.
This year Kuecks worked with Shriners Hospital for Children in Minneapolis to provide formal dresses for the hospital's annual prom.
Kuecks set aside a Saturday in April, hauled her dresses to a local church and recruited volunteers to help Shriners patients with fittings and alterations. Deangela Dawson brought her daughter Dominique to pick out a dress.
"Prom time, I didn't get a chance to go, so it's awesome that she can go," she said. "For them to be able to get a dress for free, it's amazing."
Kuecks is always looking for donated dresses in good condition. She can be reached by phone at 952-448-7451 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)