“A great dress can make you remember what is beautiful about life.”-Rachel Roy

A whisper of chiffon. The caress of silk. Slipping on the right dress can make you feel pretty. Special. Empowered.

Just look what it did for Cinderella.

On January 31st, a group of special girls in Washington, DC got to experience a little magic of their own when they received dresses for a father daughter dance. Sam Sisakhti, founder of the world’s largest Independent Fashion ecommerce site, U.S. Trendy, created the Believe in Yourself project to help empower young women. The non profit provides new designer dresses to girls for school functions so that they can feel confident–regardless of physical or financial limitations.

After donating dresses in sample sizes anonymously around Boston, Massachusetts for months, Sisakhti knew he had to do more–so he started The Believe In Yourself Project, sharing beautiful dresses with girls around the city. “One girl said it was the nicest dress she’d ever owned,” he says of the first donation event. “Another said she’d wear it to the school dance. It was very moving. It was a powerful experience … This kind of was a launching pad that made me think I should do it more often.”

Since starting in 2016, Believe in Yourself has donated dresses to girls in community centers, after-school programs, and low-income housing centers in Boston, Massachusetts; Bangor, Maine; and now, Washington DC. The Believe in Yourself mission is to promote a positive body image and healthy self esteem. By starting at an early age, the organization hopes to empower girls to feel good about themselves and take an active role in their schools and communities with the guiding belief that “all women are beautiful and…all girls should feel confident and good about themselves. Finances or body insecurities should never stand in the way.”

Sisakhti says he was inspired to make a difference after seeing girls get bullied online. “Over the past few years, I have grown increasingly concerned with the cyber bullying and body shaming that I have seen online. At the same time, I realized the enormous social pressure that many young girls feel to try to be hip and socially cool by wearing clothing that is seen as stylish. Many girls are unable to afford these fashions and can often feel ashamed socially.”

He hopes to expand the Believe In Yourself Project and include women to mentor and empower girls across the country. By speaking about their own struggles with body acceptance, these women can inspire the next generation of leaders.

Donate to The Believe In Yourself Project–with your funds, your time, and your voice. Learn more about the organization and their work at believeinyourself.org.