Originally called “Figli d’Italia,” the Order Sons of Italy in America was established in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York City on June 22, 1905, by Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro and five other Italian immigrants who came to the United States during the great Italian migration (1880-1923).
Their aim was to create a support system for all Italian immigrants who would assist them with becoming U.S. citizens, provide health and benefits and educational opportunities and offer assistance with assimilation in America.
Carolyn Cianciotta is the president of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America representing the state of Florida, and founder of Cinderella’s Closet, an event which combined elements of a fashion show and a silent auction helped to raise money for scholarships.
The event was also designed to help disadvantaged high school young ladies attend the prom in style.
“I want to call this event ‘Cinderella’s Closet.’ It’s a simple idea that everyone can relate to and support,” said Cianciotta. “Raising money for scholarships while playing fairy godmother to girls who can’t afford to dress up for the prom.”
The event was held on Feb. 10, at the Kissimmee Bay Country Club.
There were 100 prom gowns donated, 60 which were modeled by 17 volunteers. Some were students and teachers in Osceola County, walking down the club’s runway wearing them.
The organization reached its goal to raise $3,000, which will be used to award scholarships to Osceola County school students. The donated gowns will be given to anonymous young lady students across Osceola County.
Carolyn Cianciotta partnered with counselors across the district to find those students who were in need the most.
“Our goal as Osceola County Sons and Daughters of Italy is to give back to our community,” said Tony Branco, husband of Carolyn. “And hopefully today we will set a great example of our fraternity and our commitment to make a difference.”