Once upon a time, there were two women who believed that every girl should get a chance to experience the impossible. However, knowing that the world doesn’t always work the way it does in fairy tales, these two women came together and created an event unlike any other. They began with an event that gave young, low income or under-served girls the opportunity to have a Cinderella story of their own. The prom dress event is centered around showing young and impressionable girls that they are precious, priceless, valued, and cared about. Each of the girls is given their own fairy godmother who acts as a mentor (and personal shopper) and guides them throughout their fairy tale day.
“My dad recently got into some trouble so he doesn’t have any income, and I have two other sisters so my mom couldn’t afford for me to go to prom. The fact that all of this was free just blows my mind, and I want other girls to have this opportunity in the future just like I did! Who knows if any of us would have been able to go to prom without your help!”
– Operation Cinderella Princess
Operation Cinderella began as a one-time event connected with a local women’s group in the Fox Valley. It was such a powerful event that the two founders Mary Linden and Jill Vanden Oever decided to continue the event on their own.
Operation Cinderella currently works with guidance counselors, teachers, and social workers from over 24 schools in and surrounding the Fox Valley area. We are currently expanding to have a second chapter in place in central Wisconsin for March 2018 based in Wausau. The yearly events are entirely volunteer run, and are supported by financial and in-kind donations from local, regional, and national companies (and individuals).
As Operation Cinderella grew, additional financial support was needed, so in 2015 Operation Cinderella of the Fox Valley received 501c3 status. The growth has been incredible: the first year 36 girls were helped, and in 2017 over 250 girls attended the prom dress event.
Our Board of Directors and Executive Director (from left to right):
- Mary Linden: President, Board of Directors
- Kathleen Regelman: Secretary, Board of Directors
- Jill Vanden Oever: Executive Director-Fox Valley
- Kim Kneepkens: Member, Board of Directors
- Katie Vanden Oever: Treasurer, Board of Directors
- Not pictured- Holly DeLong: Member, Board of Directors
Send us an email with any questions you may have:
Year Round Drop Off Location:
Wausau Bethesda Thrift Shop, 329 N 1st Ave., Wausau
**Donations can be dropped off at front check-out counter within the store. All Operation Cinderella donations must be clearly tagged or labeled as an Operation Cinderella donation so it will not be confused with a store donation. We would also like any donation to be bagged for easy handling/processing.
Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 Stewart Ave., Wausau
**Donations can be dropped off at church office. Please have dress bagged. Label the dress Operation Cinderella Attn: Tina
SEASONAL DROP OFF LOCATIONS WILL BE POSTED IN JANUARY 2018.