At MerchantPro Express (MPX), we not only bring first-in-class credit card processing and merchant services to businesses around the country, we also pride ourselves on supporting initiatives that help our local communities. Through our relationships with excellent nonprofits, such as PinkTie.org, or launching our own programs, such as Patriot Payments, MPX has a proud history of giving back.
Today, we’d like to celebrate our relationship with yet another important organization, one that is changing the lives of young people on one of the most memorable days of their lives: Giving the Glam.
Prom is an exciting time in a high school student’s life. The glitz and glamour of this special celebration is an event that most students look forward to practically since they start school. It can also be a very expensive experience, unfortunately. The costs for a dress or tuxedo, transportation to the venue, and photography to remember the day can add up to a price tag that could make prom inaccessible to students facing financial hardships.
Giving the Glam was founded with the goal of providing a truly memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience for high school students who may not otherwise have the financial resources to attend their prom in a way that makes them feel unique and special.
Maristela Rapo, founder of Giving the Glam, knows what it’s like to grow up with financial hardships. Her family struggled with poverty throughout her childhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Years later when Maristela was living in the Boston area, she decided to combine her desire to help young people in similar situations with her lifelong love of fashion to create Giving the Glam.
The nonprofit started with one high school girl back in 2014. Rapo was connected to the student through the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), a nonprofit dedicated to expanding opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds. Rapo, determined to set off on her goal of making a difference, contacted the organization, and asked if there was a student she could support in some way.
A METCO counselor connected her to a high schooler from Dorchester, Mass. who wanted to attend her prom but was facing numerous financial hardships. Rapo saw much of herself in this girl, and decided to give her the opportunity to experience prom in a very special way. This included funding to get her custom gown, hair, makeup, and photos.
Giving the Glam has grown consistently throughout the five years since its founding, and is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit helping 180 kids from more than 20 schools.
Today, thanks to Maristela Rapo's vision and determination supported by Giving the Glam’s roster of charitable sponsors, participating students receive a new outfit for the prom, professional hair, makeup, transportation and photography. It has even opened an elegant showroom for the students to try on their outfits, which are custom fitted, and as a place where Giving the Glam can deal directly with designers.
Rapo stresses the importance of creating a lasting and special experience for these students that goes far beyond just one day, though.
Giving the Glam is a way for these students to feel special and to remember that they are valued—sentiments that should never expire after the party is over. As one student put it: “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.”