Dress giveaway to help less-fortunate students

Prom Genie hosts event to help girls attend dance

Free-use image from Google

Free-use image from Google

Rachel Bayler, Reporter

Helen Lewis is the president of Prom Genie, a non-profit organization that gives donated prom dresses to girls in need. She used to own a dry cleaning business, and, according to Lewis, every year girls would come in and talk about how they wouldn’t be able to afford going to prom due to the cost of dresses. After a customer offered to give a girl a dress if she allowed Lewis to clean it after wearing it, Lewis got the idea to start hosting the prom dress events. Now, seven years after holding the first event, Lewis is the President of Prom Genie, helping give girls their perfect dresses so they don’t miss out on prom.

On March 24, there will be a Prom Genie event at the Indiana Interchurch Center on 1100 W. 442 St. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free and open to all, but students must bring their student I.D. in order to enter.

The event is open to all students, but certain rules have to be followed when in attendance. According to the Prom Genie’s website, students must be currently enrolled at a school and have a current student I.D. with them. Registration for the event starts at 9 a.m., and these items are required in order to be able to get a dress. Students can expect to have a volunteer help them pick out their dress and can even get shoes (if there are any in stock).

Social Worker Jorie DePalma has been putting up posters around the school in order to increase awareness about the event. She thinks that these types of events make prom more accessible for students who wouldn’t normally be able to afford prom attire.

“Their goal is to make the girls feel very special and make them feel like it’s a fun event,” DePalma said. “They’re dressing (the girls) up and making it kind of a special experience for them to help them find something that makes them feel good about themselves.”

For Lewis, seeing the girls trying on and finding their perfect dress has been an “amazing” experience.

“When you feel proud about the way you look, you show that in the way you walk and talk,” Lewis said. “I think on that prom night, having that special dress just makes that night more amazing.”