A Castle Rock nonprofit formed to honor the memory of Rylie Guentensberger, who died nearly three years ago at age 12, is gathering prom dresses for girls who don't have the means of buying one in an …
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A Castle Rock nonprofit formed to honor the memory of Rylie Guentensberger, who died nearly three years ago at age 12, is gathering prom dresses for girls who don't have the means of buying one in an effort to continue Rylie's legacy of spreading small acts of kindness.
The nonprofit Rylie's ARK, which stands for acts of random kindness, will hold its Be Happy Boutique on March 28 in Kirk Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Girls who need help getting a prom dress can book a fitting to shop donated, lightly used dresses at the pop-up event.
Each shopper will be paired with a volunteer who will guide them in the shopping process. They'll also be entered to win a free appointment with a hairstylist for their prom.
“We're going to use that facility and jazz it up to make the girls feel like they're going in kind of bridal shop style,” Meghann Guentensberger said.
Guentensberger — Rylie's mother — is co-founder and director of Rylie's ARK. Organizers hope the event will help girls who didn't think they could go to prom or afford a gown find a beautiful dress.
“Anyone can apply where the cost of a dress would be an obstacle,” she said. “We're helping them overcome that obstacle.”
Girls do not need to be local to Douglas County or meet a specific income requirement to register. Fittings can be booked at ryliesark.org.
People wishing to donate can drop off dresses at local high schools and businesses, including Castle View High School, Douglas County High School and the Castle Rock Rec Center. A full list of drop-off locations throughout Douglas County is available on the nonprofit's website.
So far, the nonprofit has collected more than 160 dresses but is hoping to gather as many as possible. Purses, jewelry and shoes are also accepted.
The Guentensberger family founded Rylie's ARK with the idea of taking Rylie's reputation for spreading small acts of kindness and growing that in the community.
Rylie died in May 2017 after a car crashed into a Parker store where she was shopping for running shoes with her mother, leaving her in a coma for nearly a month before her passing.
Guentensberger said people repeatedly told the family during Rylie's hospital stay and after her death about the small ways she brightened their lives — a kind note in a teacher's drawer or a hug someone didn't know they needed.
“Rylie's ARK is a community that is focused on creating a big impact through small acts of kindness,” Guentensberger said. “Really, our goal is to just get people coming together, changing the world one act of kindness at a time.”
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