Parents of recent graduates: Do you remember how desperately your daughter needed a white dress for graduation? And remember when she promised you she would wear it all summer long??? What about when it then sat in her closet (all summer long), way past Labor Day without having a single use after that one wear at school commencement? If this story sounds familiar, Renee Schneier has a solution.
The name Renee Schneier may sound familiar to anyone who has made a bat mitzvah recently. About three years ago, Schneier noticed that many families had beautiful bat mitzvah dresses that were used once and ended up collecting dust in a closet. She started a bat mitzvah dress gemach in her basement. In catering to a specific age group and event, she has helped countless families focus their time and efforts. The styles are current and she is gracious and helpful, with an eye for color, fit and style. In fact, she has remarked that girls have found dresses at the gemach and fallen in love with them so much that they end up rethinking their own color motif for the event.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, and in this case the idea for the gemach’s next step came from someone standing in line at a store with her. Randi Wartelsky suggested to Schneier that she expand the gemach to incorporate graduation dresses. Recently, the trend of a white or mostly-white dress for graduation has become a style. Whether it’s to prevent patterns from showing through a light colored graduation gown, or for a more uniform look across the class for the part of the dress that sticks out underneath the gown, the result is that more and more seniors (and their moms) find themselves trying to balance the perfect dress with not overspending on what is likely a single use dress.
In the weeks leading up to graduation, parents of eighth and 12th grade girls can be found frantically shopping for the elusive dress, or posting on social media to try to gauge the importance of such an item. When Wartelsky suggested to Schneier that she include white dresses, Schneier knew this was another area where she could help girls feel great about themselves.
Just like the bat mitzvah dress gemach, this will also operate under the umbrella of Project Ezrah. Anyone who donates a dress will receive a letter from Project Ezrah for tax deduction purposes. Also, although the gemach is free, anyone who wishes can make a donation to Project Ezrah.
If you have a white dress from your graduate, (as well as any bat mitzvah dresses) please contact Renee at [email protected].
By Jenny Gans