LAKESIDE PARK - From the moment she stepped through the pink tulle-wrapped pillars, Lauren Keagle was pampered.
She and her "fairy godmother" picked out several dresses, then after Lauren found "the one," she sat in a chair while someone brought her several pairs of black strappy heels. Someone else brought her a tray of jewelry picked to match the dress.
In the end, Lauren had the perfect outfit to wear to her Newport High School prom.
"I love it," Lauren said of the long garnet dress with black sparkles.
She was one of more than 400 girls who received free prom dresses and accessories from Cinderella's Closet Friday and Saturday at Immanuel United Methodist Church.
Erin Peterson started Cinderella's Closet four years ago after she overheard a girl in a consignment store saying she could not afford a $39.95 dress for a dance.
"I just felt compelled to buy it for her," said Peterson. "When she left the store she said, 'I'm going to look just like Cinderella."
Peterson knew there were more girls that could not afford to go their high school proms. So she started the Closet which gave 115 dresses its first year. The girls are referred by their schools, churches or social services agencies. More than 3,000 gently used and new dresses are organized by color and size.
Teila Winburn, 17, of Carrollton, found a pea green strapless dress that fit her perfectly after trying on eight dresses.
"I love this one. It's really pretty," Teila said as she waited for silver heels to go with the dress. The guidance counselor at Carroll County High School told her about the program.
"I think it's amazing how people donate the dresses. I think it's awesome because people who can't afford dresses can have a free chance to come here," she said. "If I didn't have a dress I probably wouldn't go to prom."
While the goal is to allow girls to attend their prom. It gives them much more than a dress.
"We just shower them with all kinds of praise and encouragement the whole time," Peterson said. "The dresses are just fancy and fun, but it's really about making sure the girls feel special and cherished."
The Closet is staffed by 200 volunteers all wearing pink.
Saturday was Angela Cooper's second year volunteering. Three years ago she brought her daughter Katie Shell to get a dress.
"At first she didn't want to come," said Cooper, of Pendleton County. "She was embarrassed."
But after getting a dress, Katie told her mother she wanted to volunteer. After Katie died in a car accident in 2008, Cooper knew she had to volunteer.
"I'm here in her memory, she wanted to be here," she said, "and I love it."
This year the program is expanding to Frankfort and Cincinnati, and for the first time boys will get help attending prom. The Closet will hold a free tuxedo rental for 50 boys on March 30.
Peterson is also working with a church in Texas to starting a Cinderella's Closet there.
"There are lots of girls in this world that don't hear they are loved every day," she said. "I was fortunate enough in my life to have a mother that really loved me, and she told all time 'I want you to walk in a way that comes only from being cherished. That's the way I want these girls to walk."