By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jan 07, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Prom can be an expensive but important rite of passage for many young women. For those who can't afford a gown, The Gadzuric Foundation created the Cinderella Project MKE. Organizers hope to not only provide great dresses to teens, but also help build self-esteem.

Glass slippers are another story.

"I was inspired to create the Cinderella Project MKE to bridge two things I am very passionate about: helping the community and fashion," said Lisette Gadzuric, a Milwaukee native and wife of Milwaukee Bucks forward Dan Gadzuric.

The Gadzuric Foundation will host dress drives, where people can drop off prom dresses, from now until April 3, when the dresses  will be distributed at the Bradley Center.

Gadzuric said she hopes this project will not only provide a free prom dress (she hopes to collect 1,000 total) to deserving area youth, but also help build self-esteem through the process, creating an all-around positive prom experience.

In order to receive a free prom dress, each girl must complete an application package which consists of a short essay on why they are deserving of a dress and a letter of support from an adult mentor (teacher, pastor, employer or community center employee). Applications are available at and are due by Feb. 8. 

Participants will also attend a two-hour workshop, Feb. 22-26, that will cover various topics including nutrition and fitness, self-esteem, healthy relationships and prom choices.

Once these two steps are complete, girls can then pick their prom dress April 3 at the Bradley Center. The event includes food, beverage, music, raffles and personal shoppers who will be on hand to aid in the selection of dresses.

"I felt like a princess at my prom and I definitely want girls to feel as special as I did on that important day. It's an important time in a young lady's life and positive role models and experiences will be something that they remember," said Gadzuric. Donated dresses can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • Christian Faith Fellowship Church, 8605 W. Good Hope Rd., Fridays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Destiny Youth Plaza, 7246 N. 76th St., Wednesdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Luci Boutiques, 532 N. Water St. and at Bayshore Town Center, Donors will receive 25 percent off a new dress. Contact for hours. 
  • Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club, 3000 N. Sherman Blvd., Monday-Friday, 2:30-8:30 p.m.
  • St. Joan Antida Boys & Girls Club, 1341 N. Cass St., Monday-Friday, 3-7:30 p.m.
  • Daniels-Mardak Boys & Girls Club, 4834 N. 35th St., Monday-Friday, 2:30.-8:30 p.m.
  • Pieper-Hillside Boys & Girls Club, 611 W. Cherry St., Monday-Friday, 2:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Don & Sallie Davis Boys & Girls Club, 2430 W. Rogers St., Monday-Friday, 2:30 -8:30 p.m.

Select area high schools also will hold dress drives; watch the Web site for details.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.