CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Prom season is upon us and for many young girls, along with the excitement about the big night, comes stress. In these tough economic times, some young girls don't have the means to purchase their dream dress. But it is incredible the number of events and venues where young women can get beautiful, new to gently used prom dresses for free, or as little as ten dollars.
This story all started with a question on facebook. I was looking for ideas on how teens could find dresses that wouldn't cost a lot. There have already been several events in our area, but there even more still to come.
On facebook, I heard of Kylee Wideman, a senior at Kings Mountain High School. For her senior project, she focused on how the prom and the stress surrounding it, from cost, to being asked, could destroy a young girl's sense of self. Kylee created a wonderful, "Prom Closet" at her school. A place where girls can go, without anyone knowing, and get a dress, shoes, even jewels and a purse, for free. So I started digging to see where else you could find dresses for free or at a good price.
In Charlotte the Girl Talk Foundation's Prom Project is in its tenth year and this will be the biggest year yet. I spoke with Girl Talk founder Janine Davis about the long-term impact the Prom Project has on the young ladies it serves. "It is unbelievable to know that you are not only providing girls with dresses and making them feel good about themselves for prom night, but we are planting a seed that when you look good you feel good and when you feel good you make better choices for yourself," Davis told me.
So far this year Prom Project has already registered 700 girls for the event to be held April 7th at Imaginon. You have to register to be a part of Prom Project, but as Janine pointed out, once young ladies experience the event, and are touched by it, they come back to be on the giving end. "That is the exciting part; we have at least three of the girls who received dresses in the past who are now going to help with this year's project. They'll really work to help other young ladies, this comes full circle. We are teaching these girls the importance of giving back," Janine told me. I'm linking you to the registration page on Girl Talk's web site.
You can also find incredible new dresses donated by a local bridal salon to the Junior League of Charlotte. They are for sale from between 49 and 59 dollars at the Junior League Wearhouse on Pecan Street. The Junior League is working with Girl Talk Foundation as well. After the Prom Project is finished, any dresses left will be made available to young ladies, at the Junior League Wearhouse at no cost to the girls. That begins April 9th.
In Cleveland County I found another store with racks of new gowns for as little as nine dollars! The Hidden Treasure store at 205 S. Battleground Avenue in Kings Mountain got hundreds of dresses from a local bridal shop. The sizes vary and the prices are very reasonable.
In Troutman, the Troutman Baptist Church is sponsoring, "Twice Upon a Dress" March 31st. The church is located at 305 Perry Road in Troutman. They have close to 200 dresses they're offering to young ladies, but you must register and make an appointment to look at the dresses. The number to call is 704-528-5193.
And make sure to check your local Salvation Army and Goodwill stores. I spoke with the Goodwill in Charlotte and their prom dresses are less than 10 dollars every day of the week. I've been in Goodwill stores and found evening gowns with the tags still on them.
At the Assistance League Thrift Store on South Tryon Street they have some evening gowns, but you can also find lots of accessories, like jewelry and shoes as well.
Crisis Assistance Ministry has a free store and moms and daughters have already started visiting in search of the perfect dress. The store is located at 500 A Spratt Street in Charlotte.
If you know of an event in your town, or at your church, we'd love you to post in the comment threat below. I hope prom is a magical night for all who go this year!! Be safe, and enjoy!