April 5, 2013
Prom season is just around the corner and for many local teenage girls, the dream of attending prom has become a reality thanks in large part to the Prom Dress Giveaway hosted by My Sister’s Closet, the YWCA Central Alabama’s resale shop.
Prom Dress Giveaway is open to economically disadvantaged young women from area high schools who are referred by teachers, guidance counselors and social workers from over 30 area schools. The girls were also exposed to information on the YWCA’s Healthy Dating Relationships program. This program utilizes the Safe Dates Curriculum which helps teens recognize the difference between caring, supportive relationships, and controlling, manipulative or abusive relationships.
On the day of the event, over 1,000 beautiful new and gently used prom dresses were arranged on racks for the girls to choose from – free of charge. The girls were also given the opportunity to pick out shoes and accessories as well.
This year, Mr. Temple Tutwiler graciously donated an empty office building in downtown Birmingham to the YWCA to host Prom Dress giveaway. Staff and volunteers transformed the inside of the building from office spaces to feel more like an exclusive boutique. Offices were filled with rack after rack of dresses and accessories, while the cubicles were turned into private dressing rooms. Music filled the air as the girls and their “personal shoppers” scurried around the room looking for the perfect dress. Music turned to applause and cheers once the girls found their perfect dress.
“Prom Dress Giveaway is such a fun event for everyone involved. We are grateful to Mr. Tutwiler, as well as our generous donors and wonderful volunteers – all of which contributed to make this year’s event a success,” said Mary Jane Gibson, Coordinator of Volunteers and My Sister’s Closet.
Prom Dress Giveaway has served over 85 girls in Birmingham, with appointments still being taken through the end of the month. In 2010, the YW expanded its reach and now hosts an annual Prom Dress Giveaway in St. Clair County as well. This year over 35 dresses were distributed at the St. Clair County Prom Dress Giveaway that was held at St. Clair County High School.
"We are a rural, low-income county and Prom Dress Giveaway gives many young ladies who would not otherwise be able to afford a gown the opportunity to have one. One student told me she was going to have to borrow a cousin's dress, and she was so excited to be able to choose her own. I love the spirit of Prom Dress Giveaway. Watching these young ladies' prom dreams come true is an inspiration," states Carrie Leland, Rural Domestic Violence Services Coordinator.
In addition to the Prom Dress Giveaway, My Sister’s Closet, in Birmingham, also serves women in need by providing them with gently used clothing. My Sister’s Closet has been in operation for over 15 years. It began as a way of providing clothing to women who fled their homes to escape domestic violence and were trying to get back on their feet again.
The YWCA would like to give a big thank you to Mr. Tutwiler, St. Clair County High School and all of the wonderful volunteers who have helped us make this event a success. To find out more about Prom Dress Giveaway or to donate clothing to My Sister’s Closet, please click here.