By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Feb 23, 2004 at 5:13 AM

{image1}"I went to a high school where most of the students were wealthy and my family was not. Luckily, my mother was able to sew my prom dresses, and I felt like a beautiful princess," says Amy Sheik, who has started a new not-for-profit organization called Pretty as a Princess that will offer extremely affordable formal dresses and purses to urban girls.

Sheik, who is 35 and lives in Franklin, got the idea after reading an article in a magazine about similar organizations around the country. She modeled Pretty as a Princess after The Glass Slipper Project in Chicago, Fairy Godmothers, Inc. in Pittsburgh and The Princess Project in San Francisco.

"The mission of Pretty as a Princess is to help lower-income high school juniors and seniors feel beautiful and confident at their proms by helping them get formal dresses at greatly reduced prices," says Sheik, who earned a B.A. in Third World Studies from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. and spent a semester studying in Kenya.

Sheik is currently seeking prom dress donations. She asks that any donated dress is dry cleaned, modern and in excellent shape.

"Ask yourself if you or your daughter would want to wear the dress to a black-tie event," she says.

Sheik plans to eventually open "Princess" boutiques where the dresses will be sold to female high school juniors and seniors in the Milwaukee area for $10.

"Most prom and bridesmaid dresses are only ever worn once. They then collect dust in a closet until most women donate them to a charity," says Sheik, who hopes that eventually her organization will be large enough to work with the Milwaukee Public School system.

A volunteer personal shopper will help the student choose her gown at the boutique, and each student will be allowed to bring one person with her.

"I think that all girls should be able to attend their proms in a beautiful dress and have fun with their friends regardless of their economic background."

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Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.