Friday, June 27, 2014

Courtney Barich attended her prom wearing a burlap sack

by A Mighty Girl

18-year-old Mighty Girl Courtney Barich made good on her promise to attend her prom wearing a burlap sack -- and raised $10,000 for an orphanage in the Philippines in the process! The material for her dress cost Courtney only $40 and a generous designer, Suman Faulkner of Lata Design, volunteered her time and talent to transform the burlap into a stunning dress. Courtney's prom date even got involved and wore a burlap vest and bow tie to match.

It was a last minute epiphany several months ago that led the 12th grader from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada to pledge to wear a burlap sack to prom in the first place. Courtney attends Holy Cross High School, and went on a spring break trip to the Saint Martin de Porres Orphanage in Manila, Philippines. At the orphanage, which houses over 170 children, she witnessed children living in poverty and sleeping in garbage bags.

Around the same time, she and her mother were searching for a dress for her senior prom. She found the perfect dress at a local boutique, and its $700 price tag fit within her budget. But a day’s delay before she would be able to get the dress fitted gave her time to think: “That’s just crazy money to spend on a dress for one night. It’s just insane.”

In an interview with the Surrey Leader, Courtney explained how "as we drove home I started to think about how my generation is pretty spoiled. I felt pretty selfish, so I thought I just can’t do this when so many people in the world have nothing.” After her mother told her "you could wear a potato sack and you would still look good," Courtney was struck by an idea: “Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a grad gown, Barich decide she would instead wear a dress fashioned from a burlap sack,” and use that to fundraise for the orphanage’s needs, setting a goal of raising $10,000.

Courtney reached her goal this week but she'll continue to fundraise for the orphanage until her planned return to the Philippines in September to hand over all donations collected. If you'd like to help support her project, you can do so on her website at and you can view more photos of her burlap sack dress on her Facebook page at Courtney's Burlap Grad.

Kudos to this kind-hearted Mighty Girl for her generous spirit and creative fundraising to help those in need!

For Mighty Girl stories to teach your children about the value of charity, community service, and giving, visit our post on "Making an Impact: Mighty Girl Books About Charity and Community Service” at

For more stories starring generous Mighty Girls, visit our "Generosity & Charity" section at

And, for a beloved Mighty Girl classic about a princess who saves the day while wearing a large paper bag, we highly recommend "The Paper Bag Princess" for ages 3 to 8 at

Photo credits: Evan Seal / The Leader & Darian Wong

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