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Tallahassee Native Handcrafts Dress for One Teen's "Night to Shine"

Tallahassee Native Handcrafts Dress for One Teen's Night to Shine
Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-09 16:49:03-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- A Tallahassee native is making a wish come true for one local teen.

Friday, Genesis Church will host a prom for people with special needs as part of a national event called "Night to Shine."

As one girl gets ready for the big event, her dress has been hand-made by a woman who just started a community-driven business.

"Here's one of those moments in their lifetime that they get to feel the experience of what it feels to be a princess, what it feels to be a king," said Scott Hunter, lead pastor of Genesis Church. "We will have 13-year-olds dancing with 90-year-olds out on the dance floor -- and they love to dance."

It's a chance to dress up and have fun. And for one local girl, she's getting an original outfit -- made in about 24 hours.

"I've taken pictures of it all the way through the whole process from scraps until what you see now," said Cherraye Bess-Chaires, a revenue auditor who does fashion design and sewing on the side.

Bess-Chaires, a Godby grad and Air Force veteran, recently launched "Gowns 4 Crowns."

"'[It's for] girls who couldn't afford to get a prom dress or a quinceanera or maybe even just a party," she said. "It's something that I do well, and I figured that's something I can release back into the universe."

Cherraye got to work using what she had -- turning bridal lace and fabric into a prom present.

"This style, I figure, will definitely complement her without aging her a little too much and still let her know that she's special and she feels good in it," Bess-Chaires said.

She told WTXL that she was never able to attend prom when she was young, growing up in a family with low income, but now, she's glad she can provide that opportunity to another girl.

"This was one of those things that was very personal to me, and I could relate to her," she said, "and this is exactly what I'm doing this for."

"To see someone do something that special for this young lady makes me proud of you, makes me proud to live here," said Hunter. "I love our community, and I love that they've rallied around this event."

Organizers say at least 350 people with special needs will attend.

Bess-Chaires said this is the first dress she's made as part of her organization, adding she would love to make this a full-time business venture.