We don’t usually associate homelessness, domestic violence and life in a shelter with ball gowns, sparkling jewelry or joyous dancing. For the women at The Salvation Army’s Ruth Lilly Women & Children’s Center in Indianapolis, this all changed with the inaugural Princess Ball, held next door to the shelter at Center City Corps.
The two buildings are part of the Block of Hope, The Salvation Army’s property in downtown Indianapolis that attends to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of women, children and families from across Indiana. Many who come here have traveled difficult, demoralizing roads. Hope often seems out of reach and love a thing of fairy tales.
That’s where the idea of the Princess Ball grew. It was conceived as a way to show the women living at the Block of Hope that real beauty and worth live in our hearts and souls. As Envoy Becky Roberson explained to the ladies, “We are all princesses because we have all been kissed by the King.”
The event was made possible with the generous support of local businesses like More Than A Boutique, which donated gowns and shoes for the women, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang salon, which sent over a team of stylists to transform the women into “princesses” before the ball began. The Salvation Army ARC also stepped up with evening gowns and accessories and local baker George Taylor provided sweet treats from his A & M Bakery Cafe.
While many of the women seemed hesitant and unsure as they faced an unfamiliar activity, it wasn’t long before they were all dancing the night away in their new finery, uninhibited and joyous. Mothers swirled their daughters to the sweet sounds of “My Girl” and a riotous Conga line swirled around the pink-festooned sanctuary-turned-ballroom when “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” played over the speakers. Laughter, confidence and sisterhood replaced trepidation and feelings of worthlessness. Together, these women found strength and kinship.
Of course, it takes more than an evening playing Cinderella to mend broken lives. The struggles that lie ahead for these women and their families are real, but they have a little extra firepower in their hearts and a more confident outlook as they take on the next challenge. After all, who wouldn’t glow a little brighter when she has been “Kissed by the King?”