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The Corsage Project, working in partnership with the Children’s Aid Foundation, is a non-profit program in Toronto dedicated to giving the authentic prom experience to young women and men who would not otherwise have the opportunity to celebrate with their peers due to the high cost of formal wear.
Through their scholarship program, the Corsage Project also helps local high school graduates achieve their post-secondary goals.
Working with at-risk and special-needs youth throughout their careers in Toronto high schools, Carole Atkins and Rhona Sallay saw firsthand the evolution of prom from a simple celebration of an important milestone to a costly event that placed unnecessary financial pressure on students – many who were working hard at school and at part-time jobs to help support their families. For these students, attending prom was simply too expensive.
Carole and Rhona were determined to even the playing field by ensuring that no student was denied the opportunity to celebrate the achievement of high school graduation because of cost.
In 2000, the Corsage Project was created in partnership with the Children’s Aid Foundation to help young women attend their prom by providing them with a new dress, accessories and a mini-makeover – all free of charge. In 2010, the program expanded to provide formal wear to young men.
Participants are identified through confidential referrals from school guidance counsellors, teachers, the Children’s Aid Society and/or community social workers.