Students can dress well for prom with the help of the Magic Wand.

Looking good is just a Magic Wand away

Free prom dresses and tuxedos available to Sooke students

What’s the most important thing about Prom? Other than asking that cute girl or guy for that dance, of course. It’s style. Pizzazz. It’s as much about turning up in a sharp-looking tux or gorgeous dress as anything else.

Thing is, pizzazz costs money. Hell, maybe even more than that Lincoln Town Car limo that your best friend will likely throw up in by the end of the night. In the end though, all you really want is the aesthetics- — the looks — because the tux, the limo, they’re just temporary.

That’s where Lesley Butterfield of the Magic Wand Project comes in. She won’t fix you with any hot wheels, but she’ll dress you up well enough to rival Sammy Davis Jr. and Sofia Loren. And the best part? It’ll only cost you a penny.

“It’s about giving everyone an equal chance to look as elegant and as beautiful for prom night as they’ve always dreamed, even if the budget isn’t there,” said Butterfield, who joined the Magic Wand program as a volunteer back in 2001.

Given the need for something like this in the Greater Victoria Region, Butterfield notes the Magic Wand program caught on quickly with the locals in Sooke.

“We got a lot of support from the Sooke School District, as many of the kids we get are from Sooke,” she said. “We get our stuff from donations, the Salvation Army, or things that I’ve picked up over the years from vintage stores.”

While there is no set fee for the service, any donation, regardless of how small, is very welcome, says Butterfield, noting that the money goes towards maintenance costs for the clothing such as dry-cleaning and repair.

“Because we don’t have any sponsorship, the kids borrow everything – we reuse the stuff for about five years,” Butterfield said, adding that in the last year of use, if the kid really likes it, they can take it home — except tuxedos — they don’t usually go out of style.

In the end, it’s not even about money; it’s about providing an opportunity for someone who may otherwise never afford it. Butterfield mentioned the kindness of the community itself played (and still plays) a big role in Magic Wand’s success, such as one Victoria-based outlet which single-handedly donated a whole load of tuxedoes, shoes, shirts and ties.

Even for those who’ve lost much more, the Magic Wand project still remains special.

“One lady, whose daughter died before graduation, decided that when her daughter would of been graduating, she donated what she would of spent on a grad dress and bought someone a grad dress, which was really sweet of her,” Butterfield said.

If you would like to donate, set up an appointment, or find out more about the Magic Wand Project, please contact Leslie Butterfield at 250-383-8694 or via email at lesleybutterfield@hotmail.com, or by visiting www.themagicwandproject.ca.

Those interested in enlisting in the program can check out the Boutique Days on Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15, 2015.