Shorecrest senior project is a beauty

  • Eric Berto<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:25am

Like a proud mother, Erica Delph watched shimmery shadows and glistening glosses turn two other teens’ everyday looks into extraordinary ones.

The girls are getting their makeup done at a fancy downtown salon. For one, it’s a first. For another, a year ago it could have been her last.

The pampering was possible through the efforts of Delph, a senior at Shorecrest High School. For her senior project, she partnered with the Ruby Room, a Seattle-based organization that lends underprivileged girls formal dresses and accessories free of charge so they can attend their high school’s dances.

Delph helped 11 girls from Seattle’s Ballard High School have their own Cinderella moment on Jan. 21, the date of the big school dance.

“You have to be sensitive to the issues,” Delph said. “These girls aren’t wealthy. To have girls admitting they need help is really noble.”

For Ballard senior Tricia Kaiser, last Saturday’s dance marked her first-ever formal dance. A year ago, it seemed there might never be one. She suffered from a heart condition and needed three open-heart surgeries. After missing her entire junior year, the tall blonde has been playing catch up this year and will graduate with her class.

“I thought I was going to go (to the dance) last year, but I had to have heart surgery,” she said as the make-up artist artfully applied blusher, lipstick and mascara to her face.

Kaiser said when she saw the advertisements at school for Delph’s program, she thought it was meant just for her.

“We didn’t know how I was going to afford this,” she said. “This was a relief.”

For Delph, the look on the girls’ faces said enough.

“I could see how happy there were — I wish I could go with them,” she said.

Delph was required to spend 60 hours on her senior project. That milestone passed long ago, but Delph said she has pledged to continue the work until she leaves for college in the fall.

So far, Ruby Room has helped more than 500 area girls look like a million bucks for their formal dances, Delph said.

Many of the dresses are donated. Dressmakers send leftovers or dresses that have a stitch or two out of place. An in-house seamstress provides alterations at no cost.

Delph helped by organizing a “dress drive” in which she collected dresses to add to the thousands available through Ruby Room.

Ruby Room also makes available accessories such as handbags, belts, shoes and some jewelry.

“This project helps low-income girls and gives them a chance to go to a dance,” Delph said. “Those things can cost a lot of money.”

Delph and Ruby Room will continue to serve as Fairy Godmothers to young Cinderellas through the end of the school year. For now, though, she has some very satisfied clients.

“It’s rewarding to know that I did everything possible to make them happy,” Delph said.

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