A different type of diva organization rents ‘dress of their dreams’ to girls in need
In today’s entertainment world, the word “diva” usually describes a famous, wealthy and perhaps self-absorbed pop star. “Diva,” however, has a different meaning for an organization whose goal is to match girls in need with the dress of their dreams.
“Diva stands for ‘Divinely Inspired, Virtuously Acquired,’” said Kristin Bodendorfer of Poland, founder of Diva Donations, a group dedicated to “making a dream occasion perfect for a girl” by renting dresses for every occasion from homecoming to prom and even for weddings at very low cost.
The organization’s fund raising event Saturday at the Packard Park Shelter House featured members of a Girl Scout troop from Austintown modeling the dresses and 25 vendors offering jewelry, cosmetics and accessories.
“We’re hoping to raise money so that we can receive our non-profit designation and qualify for a grant to pay for our services like storing the dresses and dry-cleaning them after each use,” Bodendorfer said.
Bodendorfer said she got the idea to start the organization after financial difficulties left her unable to afford a Sweethearts Dance dress for one of her four daughters. When her oldest daughter provided a dress that she had only worn once, Bodendorfer thought others might help in the same way, so she posted her suggestion on Facebook.
“I knew I had to go bigger than this,” she said.
That’s when the power of the social media took over. Thanks to dress donations from individuals and more than 600 new dresses from a consignment store in Lisbon, Diva Donations has nearly 1,000 dresses and operates by appointment only on South Avenue in North Lima. A second location inside Christ Episcopal Church on Atlantic Northeast, Warren, is scheduled to open March 2.
“There are a lot of women who want to help girls do things they may not be able to do,” said Davina Holbrook of Champion, who is in charge of the Warren location. Holbrook had previously donated dresses to Champion High School before joining forces with Bodendorfer.