Dress giveaway helps prepare PG County high schoolers for a perfect prom night

A high schooler models her prom dress on the red carpet.

By Grace Dille

Prince George’s County Alumnae and Kappa Phi Chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., teamed up to present the 10th annual Prom Dress Giveaway, held March 3 at the Nyumburu Cultural Center.

Prom is a special evening for high schoolers, but not everyone can afford a brand new dress for the occasion. Prom Dress Giveaway co-chair Phyllis Davis said the event was set up for high school seniors without the financial means to pay full-price for a gown.

The dresses and accessories were donated primarily by friends of the chapter, Davis said.

Each girl was paired with their own personal shopper, similar to TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress. After picking their favorites, chapter members cheered the girls on as they walked down a red carpet.

“We’re really here to hype them up and get them really excited for prom, and let them have their Say Yes to the Dress moment,” said Kelsey Edwards, president of the Kappa Phi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Jewelry, shoes, corsages, shawls and other essential prom accessories were also up for grabs — and for the full prom experience, the chapters raffled off manicures and pedicures, professional hair stylists and makeup artists.

A personal shopper helps a high schooler pick out accessories to match her dress.

Paired with the dress selections were informative prom etiquette and safety-related workshops, as well as sessions on domestic violence.

“We want it to be more than just about the dress,” said Tina Bacon, Prince George’s Alumnae Chapter’s Prom Dress Giveaway chair. “We want to give them the whole picture of what prom is like, and what they should do.”

One high schooler, who wished to remain anonymous, said the event “made me come out of my shell a bit, because I’m kind of shy and I’m not really a dress kind of person — but everyone was really friendly, and I was able to find the dress for me.”

“I thought it was going to be a small group, and you’d just come, and take a dress, and go,” another high schooler said. “It wasn’t what I expected, but it exceeded my expectations.”

Davis said it is always a good feeling to watch the girls walk away with their prom dresses, a little more excited for prom.

“When we see them in the dress, we feel good that they’re going to have a memorable prom, a memorable time in their life that otherwise, they would not have had,” Davis said.

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