Palo Alto High School's Social Activism Publication

Paly Princess Project Club collects clothes for sexual assault survivors

Paly Princess Project holds donation drive to help survivors of sexual violence

January 31, 2022

Co-founders of the Paly Princess Project Club, Ashley Meyer and Kaila Chun, originally envisioned a club that would collect and provide prom dresses to those in need. However, they encountered a problem when COVID-19 hit. With prom being cancelled, the dress drive was no longer relevant. 

Rather than giving up, the club took their goal in a different direction — towards the Grateful Garment Project, an organization that works to restore dignity to sexual assault survivors.

Among other new projects, such as putting up posters promoting body positivity and holding a drive for hygiene products, the club has focused on collecting items for the Grateful Garment Project.

The club, working to expand its reach, donated over 70 items to the Grateful Garment Project during the fall semester, according to Meyer.

“This project aligned with our values such as empowering women, so we thought it was perfect,” Meyer said. 

Lisa Blanchard, founder and executive director, started the Grateful Garment Project as her capstone project to get her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame de Namur University. The project collects clothes and puts them into kits to provide to sexual assault survivors after they go through a forensic examination.

In this examination, the individual’s clothes are often taken and bagged for evidence. Often, these survivors are sent home in paper-thin gowns, similar to napkins, according to Blanchard. This is where the Grateful Garment Project steps in.

“It [the goal of the Grateful Garment Project] is to restore dignity to those who had it stolen through some form of sexual violence and to help change the world,” Blanchard told Anthro.

Now, the project has grown into six programs that are accessible to 96% of the California population and involve assistance programs such as counseling programs and law enforcement, according to Blanchard.

According to Blanchard, community efforts such as the Paly Princess Project’s drive are necessary to keep the Grateful Garment Project running.

“It’s just like a rope,” Blanchard said. “One single thread is not so strong, but as we come together, all these groups and people and students and everybody, we become much stronger collectively.”

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