As a child, Megan Ranck went to bed each night and dreamed only of dancing.
She opened her eyes the next morning and knew it had only been a dream, but she was convinced dancing would remain in her dreams forever.
"I danced in my sleep," she said. "Dancing is my dream."
After living in foster homes with parents who opposed dancing, 18-year-old Megan walked into her school's lobby Monday morning and received a rose, balloons and a chance to wear a free dress. The real gift, however, did not come in a box or attached to a string.
Megan was given the opportunity to dance at this year's Rosewood High School prom.
Truseary Bell, founder of the Dipped Hair and Makeup brand, developed the "Cinderella Experience" three months ago to give back to less fortunate teenagers.
Bell, 25, said she went to her prom at Spring Creek High School and wore a formal gown, but she knows there are young girls who may find it financially difficult to go to the prom.
"I was a little girl who basically had the means to go to the prom," she said. "So, I just felt like it was a good idea to just basically give back to the community."
Bell contacted every high school in Wayne County, she said, and discovered only six students -- three from Rosewood and three from Eastern Wayne High School -- were willing to write a two-page essay about dysfunctional families, depression and bullying.
She reviewed the essays and selected Megan and two other students based on their stories.
Megan's essay focused on her struggle with depression as a child in foster care. She said she moved from foster home to foster home until she met fellow student Austin Perkins, whose family invited her to live with them.
She now lives in a stable environment, and she will dance with Austin at Rosewood's prom this Saturday.
"A lot of people out there have problems, financially, or they have bad family problems," Megan said. "And they don't get to experience all the joys that other kids get to."
Megan plans on attending Johnston Community College or Wayne Community College after graduation to study nursing.
"Having this kind of experience is good. It helps boost self-esteem, and it shows them there are good things in life," she said.
Bell also read Rosewood senior Sara Bowling's essay and chose her along with Megan. Sara, 17, was not at school when Bell presented Megan with balloons, but Bell said she, Megan and Sara went to Norma's Boutique, located at 1703 E. Ash St., later in the afternoon to pick out a dress.
Sara will attend the prom with Rosewood senior Avery Vernatt.
Bell left Rosewood later that morning and drove to Eastern Wayne. There she handed 18-year-old Tela Bivins a rose and balloons and told her she, too, will have a dress for the prom.
Tela placed her hands on her cheeks and cried.
"I was really excited, but I was scared because I was wondering if I would get it," she said.
Tela wrote her essay on bullying in schools -- never thinking she would have a dress for the school's prom Friday, May 5.
"I don't like bullying. It's not right," she said. "I was bullied when I was younger, so I kind of like understood how it felt."
She volunteers at Meadow Lane Elementary School to assist teachers and Udana Bivins -- Tela's mother and the school's instructional assistant -- with grading papers. Upon graduation, Tela will attend either Wayne Community or Pitt Community College for nursing.
Tela joined Bell, Megan and Sara at Norma's Boutique to possibly pick out a mermaid dress. She will accompany Jared Barwick, who graduated from Eastern Wayne last year, to the prom.
Bell said Norma's Boutique donated the three dresses. She said her mother, Dolline Speight, and Terrell Speight will provide transportation through their company, Speight's Limousine Service. Bell said Kim's Beauty Supplies will provide hair extensions.
La'Asha Young, owner of L.A. Hair Studio, and Bell will style the students' hair. Brittany Brathwaite of Sylk Pro Cosmetics and B2Makeup will apply makeup for the students, while Brittany Smith, owner of She B Nic Photography, will capture the prom in pictures.
Bell said the six essays from the students were emotional to read, and she said choosing only three students posed as one of the toughest decisions she has ever had to make.
"Everybody deserves to go to the prom," Bell said. "It's the one night they can dress up and do something special. I feel like everybody deserves to go to prom."