Prom Drive Helps Community

DSC_0203By Amanda Moses

It is prom shopping season, and as boys and girls scour the internet for the coolest outfits there are parents who are dreading the cost. Of course any parent would want to have their child feel like royalty with the best shoes and clothes, but sometimes the celebrity style that children dream of are a bit out of their family’s price range. In light of the high costs of prom, two Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) residents hosted a Prom giveaway. Anita and Jane Chan were the fairy godmothers to dozens of young boys and girls during their second annual prom drive on Monday, May 1st at Frederick Douglass Academy VIII (FDA).

The Chan sisters were able to gather eight large plastic bins filled with dresses, suits, ties, shoes and so much more from donors all around SCT. The giveaway was inspired by the Cinderella’s Wish List, a Brooklyn based prom drive. The sisters noticed that they had so many formal dresses in their closet that were just gathering dust. Rather than toss their dresses away, they decided to host a giveaway in the community they grew up in.

“It is amazing to know that through our efforts of simply reallocating resources within the community, we were able to benefit so many people. Senior dues are considerably expensive to begin with, so imagine having to pay for the other expenses that come along with it. In many instances, we all have something in our closet that we will never wear again, and for it to end up with someone who needs it would be a perfect match,” said Anita Chan.

This year the prom drive offered dresses for females of all ages and suits for the gentleman. Each dress, blazer and button-down shirt was dry-cleaned and beautifully displayed on clothing racks within FDA VIII’s media room. The entire event felt like an empowering clothing store because everyone supported one another. Many of the young girls were trying on heels for the first time, so a volunteer at the event helped show them how to properly walk in heels. Other volunteers helped parents and their children find everything in their size as well as costume jewelry that went with their attire.

Lesley Hall had tears in her eyes as she watched her daughter spin around in a beautiful, floor-length turquoise dress. “She looks so beautiful, yes that dress is the one,” Hall said. As a mother of four, Hall thought that it would almost be impossible for her daughter to go to prom, but after the Chan sisters’ spectacular giveaway all four of her children and herself found elegant attire to wear at all occasions. Hall says she will wear her dress to her daughter’s high school graduation at Achievement First.

Hall’s daughter, 15-year-old Deneillia Taylor, smiled as she caressed her dress simply saying, “I am just so speechless that this dress is being given to me for free.”

“We really want this to be an ongoing yearly event. Graduation and prom are such significant milestones for students. Events like these are extremely important in ensuring that students won’t miss out simply because they were unable to dress up for the occasions due to various reasons. We want to make sure every student gets the chance to feel special and confident. Consistency is always key to success and pioneering change. We want this to continue to grow and eventually take off on its own; schools can maybe even host an event on their own for their students every year,” said Jane Chan.

In addition to the prom drive, there was a recycle information table presented by GrowNYC (a sustainability resource organization for New Yorkers helping to provide free tools and services anyone can use in order to improve our City and environment). “The prom drive was the perfect example of our zero waste program, which shows people how to reuse or re-purpose things that we would normally throw away,” said Larissa Ho, Recycle Outreach Coordinator.

Jane and Anita Chan would like to offer many thanks to everyone involved in the Prom Drive: We want to thank Frederick Douglass Academy VIII for providing us with a wonderful space to use for our event. Thank you Brooklyn Sports Club, Tiffany Cleaners, and Susie of Sisters With Purpose for helping us with donation collections. Thank you to GrowNYC for providing a table at our event with information and tips on how we can protect our environment and make a positive impact. Clothing reuse is one way of making that positive impact, so reuse prom dresses! Reuse suits! Reuse what you can! To learn more visit www.grownyc.org

Photos by: Amanda Moses