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Pink Dress Project aims to aid Newfoundland single parents

St. John’s resident Meghan Careen is on her tenth day of wearing the same pink dress – and she plans to wear it every day for the rest of this month in an effort to raise funds for the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland.
St. John’s resident Meghan Careen is on her tenth day of wearing the same pink dress – and she plans to wear it every day for the rest of this month in an effort to raise funds for the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland. - Juanita Mercer

St. John’s woman to wear same dress every day for a month to encourage contributions to provincial association

ST. JOHN'S, N.L - A St. John’s woman has been wearing the same dress for 10 days and she plans to continue wearing it every day until Jan. 31.

Meghan Careen is not trying to cut back on laundry detergent or save time deciding what to wear every day.

No, the reason she’s clad in the same bubblegum-pink Sooley T-shirt dress every day this month is to support the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland (SPAN).

Careen is calling it the Pink Dress Project, with a goal to raise funds for the association.

Meghan Careen will take selfies while wearing the same dress every day this month — above are nine of the selfies she's snapped thus far. - Contributed photos
Meghan Careen will take selfies while wearing the same dress every day this month — above are nine of the selfies she's snapped thus far. - Contributed photos

Gift that keeps giving

The dress was a gift from Careen’s husband for Christmas.

“When I tried it on, my little boy promptly nuzzled his sticky face into my lap, and I set my mind to keeping the dress for a special occasion. But as I lay in bed that night, it just hit me how wasteful that would be.

“I just thought, what if I celebrated every day as a special occasion? What if I wore that dress every day? And what if I did it to bring joy to someone else?”

Careen was raised by a single mother, so when she thought of an organization she’d like to support, her mind went to SPAN.

She said the obvious impact of a single-parent family is often the financial burden, but what she’s reflecting on most during her Pink Dress Project is the loneliness of a single-parent household.

“Of course, I can only guess at the loneliness of a single parent, but from the perspective of a child, I know firsthand how that feels.

“When parents are in survival mode, childhood is a very different experience than it is when parents have the luxury of being present and active.

“I appreciate my parents and I would not wish to change my journey, but survival mode is an uncomfortable state to spend your days in. SPAN offers parents the tools and resources to step out of that state. Once our basic needs are secure, we feel safe and able to enjoy our families.”

Careen said she didn’t want the generosity of the Christmas season to fizzle out as people got back to their daily routines.

“Single-parent families are still in need of compassion and it felt like the right time to acknowledge that.”

Greater contribution

While Careen is collecting direct donations from her friends and family which she’ll donate on their behalf, she hopes her Pink Dress Project will encourage the public to donate, too.

She said people can donate to SPAN by sending an email money transfer to the executive director, Elaine Balsom, at ebalsom@spanl.ca or visit the association’s website for other ways to donate.

“That collective impact is the only reason to do something public like this. I can't accomplish much on my own, but I can draw attention to important topics, and ask my social community to accomplish something with me.”

— Meghan Careen

To remind people to donate – and to show donors she is indeed wearing the dress every day – Careen posts a photo of herself in the dress every day to her social media accounts.

However, because she’s encouraging people to donate directly to the association, she says she won’t know exactly how much her Pink Dress Project will raise for the organization.

She says she went into the project thinking if everyone she knew donated just one dollar, it would be a far greater contribution than she could make on her own.

“That collective impact is the only reason to do something public like this. I can't accomplish much on my own, but I can draw attention to important topics, and ask my social community to accomplish something with me."

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

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