Lily Barna spearheaded a project to support Abby's Closet, collecting more than 150 dresses

REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Lily Barna, 14, (right) shows off some of the dresses she and her mom Stacy Barna collected for Abbys Closet, a nonprofit organization.One Lake Oswego 14-year-old is making sure girls get their Cinderella moment.

Portland Jewish Academy eighth-grader Lily Barna collected more than 150 elegant dresses for Abby’s Closet, the West Linn-based nonprofit organization that donates gowns and accessories to girls who otherwise couldn’t buy the pricey attire for prom or winter formal.

Lily said she’s learned how much work such projects can take and how supportive a community can be in helping to execute them.

“You can take an idea and turn it into a reality,” she said. But it takes “a lot of planning, a lot of help and a lot of not giving up.”

With the help of her mom, Stacy Barna, Lily set up collection boxes at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center and Lamb’s Nature’s Choice Markets. During the project, which took place from Feb. 21 to March 16, Lily also made 900 labels that she and her mom stuck on collection bags to pack into people’s grocery sacks. Lily had to meet deadlines and make business calls.

Her volunteer work is part of a school project requiring service learning, and students must show how their project relates to an aspect of Judaism.

Barna said the project aligns with what she taught Lily and her son Ben: “Always do the right thing and be kind. That’s really it.”

“That is it,” Lily echoed.

Lakeridge and Lake Oswego High students recently held their own fundraiser for Abby’s Closet, bringing in 100 dresses.

Lily plans to volunteer for the Abby’s Closet Great Dress Giveaway. It will be held 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on March 28 and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on March 29 at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland.

Learn more about the event at, or call 503-722-1524.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
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