Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prom Dress Drive Fever


Since this feature of mine did not get published or submitted online on behalf of my school newspaper, I've decided to post the concept myself here (don't worry I'm not bitter).

I'm sure my campus is no different from any other when it comes to organizations finding creative ways to raise money or items in support of a philanthropy specific to that particular group.

At Longwood three organizations on campus attempted to host prom dress drives this semester to collect prom dresses for high school girls hoping to go to prom but might not be able to afford a dress during these hard economic times. Only two of the three groups were successful.

The Longwood Ambassadors and Delta Zeta came together to co-sponsor a collection for Prince Edward County Schools. Delta Zeta Philanthropy Chair, Kelsey Ferguson said that the idea was brought to Delta Zeta and Ambassador adviser, Shannon Hersman, from a teacher at Prince Edward County. “They had had the idea before but it kind of fell through. There was either no interest or not enough interest,” said Ferguson. She went on to explain that in order to ensure the donation drive would not fall through again, the association wanted to bring it to Longwood where there would potentially be more interest and involvement.

Word of the Prom Dress Drive passed through Delta Zeta and onto the Ambassadors. Kathleen Maxey, a Delta Zeta sister and Ambassador, decided to contact Maryanne Hull, the Ambassador community service chair to see if the Prom Dress Drive could become a joint effort between these two active groups on campus. “It’s kind of a big [project] for just one organization, so we decided to get a co-sponsor and a sorority [was] the best idea,” said Hull.

Longwood is not alone when it comes to collecting prom dresses for high school teens. Check out these cats who actually mad it on the news for their work collecting dresses:

Prom Dress Drive on NBC -- LPE / Communication Society

Hosting a Prom Dress Drive isn't a new concept and did not originate on college campuses. The Princess Project is most likely where the original concept came from; if not, it is at least the biggest and most successful organization that hosts this type of drive. According to their website, The Princess Project "promotes self-confidence and individual beauty by providing free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot otherwise afford them. Our effort is made possible through invaluable volunteer, donor and community support."

The Princess Project started in February of 2002 when one girl needed a dress for her prom. The founders, Laney Whitcanack and Kristi Smith Knutson, responded to her plea by collecting dresses from friends and family. The concept caught on and became more and more popular when an overwhelming amount of donations and support came from women from all over. Today, the Princess Project has expanded to a total of four locations and helps over 3,000 girls every prom season.

All three Longwood students said that they would love to do the drive again and would even consider putting a drive together in the fall for homecoming.
“I would love to do it again. I love to make an impact, not just on Longwood but for Prince Edward County as well. And I think it would be pretty awesome that if we could get at least 100 dresses that would impact 100 seniors, 100 juniors so that they could go to prom,” said Ferguson

“I just want to stress that if you were in that position, you would really appreciate, you know, having a gorgeous dress to wear, to go and to do what everyone else can,” said Hull.

A prom dress is something that I would say most of us girls expect and take for granted. Dress drives like these take something so simple and make girls everywhere feel special. It's hard to believe that there are some girls out there that don't even expect to be able to get dressed up and go to prom. I'm just glad that this simple concept has become something that more and more people have caught on to and want to support.

The prom dress drive at Longwood has concluded, but if you would like to donate a dress you can do so HERE via the Princess Project website.

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