South Bend organization provides dresses to girls with needs - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend organization provides dresses to girls with special needs

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Young girls and women with special needs were treated to a special event Saturday afternoon called Hannah's Belles. The event was put on by Hannah and Friends which is a non-profit organization that assists children and adults living with special needs. Hannah's Belles allowed the young girls to pick out two or three dresses to take home at no cost. The dresses were all donated from local high schools and the community.   

"We were so anxious for this day to get here to see the girls, see them looking at the dresses, coming out and modeling them," Director of Operations for Hannah and Friends Katie Teitgen said. "They just love having these young women here to cheer for them."

The young women cheering for them were all volunteers. There were over 40 in attendance with most being St. Joseph High School and St. Mary's College students. One of those volunteers was St. Joseph Junior Rita Pillai. She has volunteered at Hannah and Friends since eighth grade. She says it brings her lots of joy to help the young women with special needs. "[I like] seeing their smiles on their faces," Pillai said. "Like look at her in this beautiful dress." 

One of the participants trying on dresses was Tiffani Amberg. She was thrilled to be at the event. "I am a dress fanatic," she said. "If you see my closet I have a thousand dresses." 

Over 600 hundred dresses were donated for the event. Pillai led the charge at St. Joseph High School and collected 85 dresses in two weeks. Marian High School and John Adams High School were some of the other contributors to the event. .

While the young women left with a dress or two in hand, participants and volunteers all agreed that they were taking home more than just a dress. 

"After trying on all these dresses and getting pictures and everything I just hope that they feel really special and beautiful," Pillai said. "Everyone deserves to feel special and beautiful." 

Women and girls of all abilities deserve the opportunity to feel beautiful and that's what we're trying to do here today," Teitgen said.

Tiffani Amberg Hannah's Bells Participant says, "To find their inner beauty and their intelligence and self confidence," Amberg said.

This was the first time the Hannah's Belles event was held. Hannah and Friends is located in South Bend.

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