Our #GivingTuesday Story: Princess Chambers, Inc.
In 2009, Jennifer Daniel founded an organization to empower high school girls but, at the time, she didn’t know it. She was simply looking for a way to fill a need in her community after she heard that a few high school girls couldn’t afford a prom dress and would be skipping the event altogether.
Jennifer knew that she had to help and immediately started reaching out to family members and friends to donate their gently used prom dresses. Within two weeks, she had collected more than 250 dresses and hosted an event for the girls to pick them up. Over the years, through word-of-mouth and partnerships with schools throughout New York City, Jennifer’s organization, Princess Chambers, Inc., has served more than 700 girls with not just prom dresses but also make-up application and hair styling.
It was at one of these events that Jennifer decided that she wanted to do more to help the girls internally as well as externally. Many of them cried when they saw themselves in the mirror after exiting "the chamber" -- their special dressing room with personal shoppers-- because they had never felt so beautiful in their lives. Although they were transformed on the outside, there was more work needed to help fight their internal battles with low self-esteem, depression, and poor self-worth.
In addition to the signature Princess Chambers event held at the Brooklyn Marriott each year, Jennifer created a mentorship program, “Mentorship by Sisterhood,” which supports first-year college students as they transition to a new life on campus. The program provides workshops focused on goal setting through vision boards, healthy eating to combat the “freshman 15” woes, and mindful living to deal with stress, among others. Princess Chambers also offers a diverse, custom curriculum that focuses on helping girls build self-esteem and leadership skills through self-reflection, critical thinking, sound decision making, etiquette and goal setting for local girls. Finally, the Princess Chambers’ Crowned Princess Scholarship awards one eligible alumnus with a college scholarship at their annual Garden party.
"Teenagers are constantly bombarded with images that depict standards of beauty, which has an adverse effect on their self-esteem," says Jennifer. "Our organization is designed to equip them to overcome these challenges. We are constantly evolving and intentionally seeking ways to better serve the girls within our community. Princess Chambers Inc. offers more than a free prom dress, we invest in and offer long-lasting experiences and opportunities for girls far after prom. We want our girls to be achievers and believe they can do anything beyond their current circumstances. Additionally, we want them to feel beautiful within, so they can feel confident regardless of what they identify as ‘beautiful.’ I am excited about the future of Princess Chambers as we continue to grow and serve the community.”