Tarentum teen helps make prom dreams come true
Although she may seem young for the part, 14-year-old Danielle Basista recently stepped into the role of fairy godmother, and the results were pure magic.
The efforts of the Highlands Middle School eighth-grader resulted in the collection of nearly 100 gowns for Cinderella's Closet, an organization that provides free prom dresses for girls who can't afford them.
Basista was inspired by her experience in January at the Highlands Middle School winter formal. She had such a great time there that she wanted to be sure that others could have the same opportunity.
“I had a really good time at the formal, and I imagine prom is 10 times better even,” she said. “I think everyone should be able to have that.”
That was when she came up with the idea of collecting dresses. She asked for assistance with the project and language arts teacher Jeannine Vivino stepped in, helping the Tarentum teen to pair up with Cinderella's Closet.
“Giving back is a very rewarding experience,” she said. “The best gift is giving. The best reward is giving to others.”
The opportunity to do just that happened at Highlands last month with the collection for the local Cinderella's Closet, which is ministry of the North Apollo Church of God.
The drive took place at the middle school for several days after school. It attracted a steady stream of donations from those in the Highlands community.
Dresses recently were distributed at an open house event that included accessories and the opportunity to have nails and make-up done.
“We were overwhelmed by the response Danielle's dress drive received; it was Cinderella's Closet's largest single donation source of 2013,” said Kristie Zimmerman, co-director of Cinderella's Closet.
“We are grateful for the support of Danielle and the faculty at Highlands Middle School. The ministry depends entirely on donations and volunteers, and Danielle's efforts helped Cinderella's Closet to provide free prom dresses to many girls in our community,” Zimmerman said.
Vivino, too, was impressed by the enthusiastic response.
“Being able to help them and to know that they can do that, it warms my heart,” she said. “It was just a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
Basista's efforts also warmed the heart of her mother, Sondra Basista.
“She's always been so sweet like that,” she said. “She's such a caring and giving person.”
From the sounds of it, Basista's dress-drive experience reinforced her generous nature.
“I learned that giving back is an important part of life,” she said.
“The biggest reward that comes out of this is helping people.”
It's a lesson Basista plans to take with her to high school. She's already thinking about ways to continue and expand the Highlands dress collection effort — possibly by enlisting fellow students to help volunteer at the annual Cinderella's Closet open house.
Julie E. Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Driver leaps from sliding truck just before it topples down hillside in Fawn
- EPA urges further review of nuclear waste dump in Parks Township
- Gunman sought in gas station robberies in Jefferson, Buffalo townships
- Parents alerted to luring attempt of fourth-grade girl in Springdale
- Winfield Township to try road treatment mix
- Plum’s 1st property tax hike since 2006 could reach 6.2%
- Springdale puts limits on adult businesses
- Winfield man is one of a few to attend all 49 Super Bowl games
- Popular Super Bowl, March Madness traditions prohibited under state law
- Second teen charged in Jan. 1 Tarentum shooting
- Burrell students embark on educational adventure