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‘It made me feel beautiful’: Community pitches in to help send Ogden teen to prom

Posted at 6:02 PM, May 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-15 20:20:30-04

OGDEN, Utah — It was the night to remember, the biggest event of senior year, and Ogden High student Sarah Sandberg was anxious.

“My self-esteem is very low. I’m a very anxious person about going out in public looking the way I do,” she said.

She had her prom dress, but that was mainly it. Her mom, Amanda Baker, posted in the Ogden Facebook group, “You know your from Ogden if,” looking for help.

“I just go on there like, ‘Hi, I know this is short notice and all but I was wondering if anybody has any boutonnieres or corsages they’re going to throw out,'” Baker said.

The response blew them away.

One woman who wants to be called “Grandma T” bought Sarah and her date the flowers.

Chelsea Lasnik with the Glam Lab volunteered to do her makeup.

Karina Gabaldon styled her hair.

Stacey Okopny and Viviana Vazquez also offered to help with makeup and take pictures. Everything was done free of charge.

“Ogden gets such a bad rep,” said Baker. “It’s ‘the scum of Utah,’ they say. ‘It’s just a bad area,’ people say. But there are so many people in Ogden that have reached out.”

Sarah described the moment as “life-changing.”

“It made me feel beautiful. It made me feel that I was wanted in the world,” she said.

Baker said she never stopped crying.

“[Sarah] stopped and looked in the mirror and was like, ‘Mom, I’m beautiful.’ And I’m like, ‘Honey, the whole world sees that.’ I told her, ‘You’re the only person who doesn’t see it.’”

Beautiful inside and out — a lesson Sarah will carry with her for her last few weeks of high school and beyond.

“Being a person with a disability, it’s not easy,” she said. “You get made fun of a lot for it. People look at you different because of your disability. And so now that they’ve done that, it makes me feel different, and I’m happier about that.”