Feature Story

Giving Back: Meet the Maids

Sometimes the glamour of the gowns and ceremony can overshadow the important and beneficial work that the Veiled Prophet Ball celebrates. Founded in 1878 by local businessmen, the VP Organization is St. Louis’ oldest civic philanthropic group. It’s dedicated to improving our community, and the annual ball is much more than just a party. The young women who are involved have donated countless volunteer hours to community efforts and will continue to give back. T&S spoke with a few of this year’s maids of honor about how they make an impact on St. Louis.

allison edmonds
A graduate of Villa Duchesne, Allison is majoring in advertising with a minor in international relations. She is the last granddaughter of Stan Musial to walk in the VP Ball and is proud to uphold a family tradition. “My sister and mom both walked, and my grandmother was a lady of honor,” she says. “The VP has been a part of my family for a long time.” Adding to the evening’s strong familial connection, Allison was escorted by Timothy Boyle, a family friend who also walked with her sister. “It is exciting to have my family and friends together to celebrate,” she says of the ball.

But for Allison, the VP is more than just one night of celebration. “The organization does so much to help St. Louis, and that’s what is really important,” she notes. The volunteer initiatives she has been involved with include Dream House and Hospice, the Head Start Program and the Green Center. Her favorite activity was dressing up to visit young patients at Shriners Hospital. Each year, she also works with her dad on the VP Parade, helping prepare floats and walking as a puppeteer. “The VP has always been a part of my life,” she says.

margaret & mary dude
For Margaret and Mary, the VP is about giving back and spending time with family. “My favorite part is being with my dad and sister over the summer,” Mary says. “It’s a fun time to work together and help the community.” Margaret adds that she has loved volunteering since middle school, but the VP provides opportunities that are even more special. The sisters’ charitable efforts have included working with Crisis Nursery Saint Louis, Food Outreach, St. Louis Area Food Bank and Woman’s Exchange. They both especially enjoyed helping with Guardian Angels backpack distribution and assisting young students in picking out school bags and supplies. “It was fun to see the kids’ reactions and how excited they were to start the school year,” Margaret notes.

The twins both graduated from Villa Duchesne. Margaret is majoring in marketing and retail management with a minor in public communications, and Mary is studying nursing. Both were junior maids in the past and were very excited for the evening of the ball. “It was a great opportunity to reconnect with family and friends I hadn’t seen for a long time,” Mary says. Margaret agrees that the night was a wonderful experience to share with others and adds that “the dress was pretty fun to wear, too!”

sarah ayers
Working in a local soup kitchen is one of Sarah’s favorite memories of volunteering with the VP. “We handed out cookies and had great conversations with people,” she recalls. “It was such a happy environment even though they were facing tough times.” She also has helped students pick out school supplies with Guardian Angels, which was especially memorable because it was a bonding experience with her father. “My dad could relate to the students who needed support because he grew up not having much and had to work hard,” she notes. “I got to talk with him about his life, and it brought us closer together.”

Sarah, a Parkway West graduate, is pre-law and studying political science and history. She is grateful for all the experiences the VP has allowed her to have. “I was able to get out into the community and help in a variety of ways,” she explains. As part of her involvement with the organization, she also has managed social media and taken pictures for the VP Parade. “It’s amazing to see people come together through hard work and creativity,” she says. “One of my favorite things is making St. Louis a happy