I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I grew up in a very impoverished community and with that came many challenges. There were many times where I couldn’t participate in certain activities because my family simply couldn’t afford it. It was very difficult to feel left out in these situations, as many of my friends were lucky enough to be able to afford these priviledges.
When I was 17 years old, I left Brazil and move to Europe where my passion for fashion was officially born! I am the former proprietor of two high-end boutiques, Wolford and Giuseppe Zanotti. After so many years in the fashion industry, I finally found a way to use my fashion expertise to make a difference and give back to all community!
Financial constraints put unnecessary burdens on students and serve to alienate them from the rest of their student body at a time when they most need community. Giving the Glam attempts to fill this need by giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy a high school prom, regardless of financial circumstances. By developing their self-confidence, we prepare these young people for the next chapter in their lives.
Giving the Glam is able to help financially challenged students feel included in their high school communities. Far too often these individuals are left out of many experiences due to no fault of their own and for them to finally experience this inclusion is an amazing thing to witness. Giving the Glam creates an experience that they will never forget.
While prom season doesn’t come around until May, the Giving the Glam process starts early in January. First, the team helps each candidate choose his tuxedo or her dress. The next step is the fitting and by the middle of March we have completed the fittings. During March and April, our team starts choosing accessories to make sure that all candidates are dressed their very best. As May and June come around, the big day finally arrives. The entire Giving the Glam team comes together for makeup, hair, manicure and to give the outfits the final touch. Prom is an unforgettable milestone for these students and Giving the Glam gives them the opportunity to attend the prom, make life long memories, and build confidence.
Dover / Sherborn High School – 2014
Giving The Glam is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Massachusetts. It was created and established in 2014 by philanthropist Maristela Rapo and her daughter Alexis Rapo.
Alexis introduced her mother to the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) program coordinator from her school, Dover-Sherborn. Maristela worked with the coordinator to identify underserved students who would benefit from this program.
We work with young men and women who all come from different backgrounds and are each being faced with unique challenges. Giving The Glam comes into their lives and helps guide and motivate them to overcome their challenges by building their self-esteem and by acquiring a newfound confidence to help them create a viable plan for their own future.
Our organization helps financially challenged teens enjoy their high school prom experience. Each participant is provided with everything he or she will need to enjoy the prom in style – gowns, tuxedos, accessories, hair and makeup, professional photos, a video and car service to the venue.
But in the end, it’s not so much about the clothes, hair and makeup as it is about the rite of passage. From the young person’s point of view, it’s the opportunity and experience of a lifetime.
Students are selected in coordination with Massachusetts Student Grant Programs including the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) and the Boston Police Department’s District B-3 Community Service Officers.
Perhaps one of last year’s students put it best: “To get compliments was not only nice to hear, but also empowering. It made me feel a new confidence in myself that I never knew I could have. That is exactly how I felt on my prom night…and how I still feel today.”