Local nonprofit and bridal shop giving free gowns to teachers on Sunday

Virginia Beach

Extending application window to Saturday morning

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – During a year that’s been unlike any other, a local nonprofit is making sure teachers know they are loved.

“This has been a really tough time and I just want all the teachers out there to know how much they are loved and appreciated,” said Alex Fleear, owner of Ava Clara Bridal in Virginia Beach, which has been giving away bridal gowns since 2018.

During the pandemic, Fleear formed a nonprofit called “Tulle 4 All.” The group provides dresses to healthcare workers and other deserving brides-to-be.

Given that it’s Teacher Appreciation Month, they are thanking those who led the virtual classrooms this year.

“You always remember your wonderful, great teachers, so why not tell them how much we love them, too,” said Fleear.

On Sunday, teachers who are brides-to-be can choose a dress for free at the bridal shop. They have 50 gowns to give away, but so far, only about 20 women have signed up so they’re trying to get the word out.

There is a brief application to verify you are a teacher.

One of the teachers getting a dress on Sunday is Emily Bunting, who is a fourth grade teacher at Green Run Elementary School in Virginia Beach. Her friend tagged her in an Instagram post about the giveaway.

“I looked at it more and was like ‘You know, I want to give this a shot.’ I filled it out and I’m so glad I did. I’m very thankful for my friend who tagged me, as well,” said Bunting. “It’s not, like a ‘hey thanks we appreciate you.’ It’s ‘Hey, I want to make an impact on like one of the biggest days of your life’ and that goes without words, it’s insane that I can be a part of that.”

Bunting says the last year was challenging.

“Never having my own classroom and never, you know, teaching on my own before, and also being in a brand new school where the kids don’t even know my face, signing on that first day of school, not knowing what was going to pop up on the other side of that screen,” said Bunting.

Fleear says they feel like teachers have been put through the wringer this year, so they want to make sure educators know they are appreciated.

The application closes on Saturday at 10 a.m. Find more information by clicking here.

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