For many high school students, prom is an important milestone and a night never to forget. But, achieving the dream of attending prom isn’t a reality for some teens with families already struggling to make ends meet.
That’s where Prom Project Niagara comes in, as some families find it difficult to “pay for all the little extras” such as formal wear and all the accessories that go with it, says Fort Erie’s Kelly Kendrick.
Prom Project volunteers are calling on the community to dig out that old evening gown, or tux that’s been stuffed away in the back of the closet for far too long and put it to good use by donating these items to the Prom Project.
This year’s event is planned for Saturday, April 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fort Erie’s students can shop for their outfits free of charge at a boutique that will be set up at the Fort Erie Race Track at 230 Catherine Street.
Kendrick says students, both male and female, in need of formal attire for Grade 8 or high school graduation, or prom are welcome to try on outfits and pick one to take home as well as all the accessories they need, including shoes.
“If they want, they’ll even have a personal shopper to help them,” she adds.
Over five years ago, the Fort Erie Kinettes partnered with the Diva on a Dime Project and collected as many dresses and accessories as they could in order to style Fort Erie’s high school graduates free of charge.
Later, the service club went on to partner with Prom Project Niagara through the Education Foundation of Niagara, which provides formal wear to students across the region.
Since the Kinettes began collecting donations, about 600 students have been fitted with free formal wear and all the accessories that go with it.
Kendrick says much of the clothing is gently loved and clean, and some even new.
The best part about the Prom Project, Kendrick says, is “it gives formal clothing a second chance to be worn again.”
“Many people have beautiful dresses or dress pants and shirts sitting in their closets that have only been worn “once or twice.”
The program has hugely impacted the lives of those that have benefited from it.
“We have had young girls so overwhelmed with it. They were so excited they donated their dresses back (to Prom Project) to show their appreciation and because they wanted somebody else to benefit from it.”
Kendrick is grateful to all the people and businesses that have donated in the past to make the Prom Project a success.
“Last year, Shopper’s Drug Mart offered to do make-up that day and the Stevensville Garden Gallery did corsages and boutonnieres for the kids. We really appreciated it and they deserve a big shout out,” Kendrick says.
“We’re looking for formal wear. I know that in the past people have donated sundresses and other items of clothing. While it’s appreciated, it needs to be formal wear that students can wear to a formal event,” Kenrick explains and adds that any item that cannot be used for the Prom Project is donated to other organizations that can use them.
“Nothing ever goes to waste,” she says.
The Prom Project is also in need of shoes for both men and women, jewellery, gloves, ties, suspenders, men’s dress shirts.
I f anyone would like to donate, items can be dropped off to Kendrick at 10 Dufferin Street or at one of PenFinancial Credit Union’s locations and Liberty Tax Office at 371 Ridge Rd. North in Ridgeway. For more information about Prom Project Niagara call Kendrick at 905-651-3792 or Lousie Albert at 905-994-1556.