Project Prom Dress
Delta Chi Omega and Emerging Pioneers Leadership Program Gold Group
Project Prom Dress focuses on collecting prom dresses, accessories and cash donations for underprivileged teenage females. Through donations made by the community as well as surrounding communities we will host two dress drives per academic year. Project Prom Dress is currently looking into sponsoring a prom for a high school that cannot afford to host a prom. Young women that cannot afford a prom dress should have the same opportunity to “shop” for one and feel comfortable and happy in it.
“To a teenage girl, prom is almost like a rite of passage,” says Alfred State student Olivia Ciesla. “Picking out a dress, finding a date, and getting your hair done is part of that prom experience.” But for many underprivileged girls and their families in Allegany County, a formal event that can cost upwards of $800 is just too far out of reach. “I was unable to afford a dress for my own senior prom,” Olivia says. “I know the feeling of going to a store and not being able to leave with a dress because it just costs too much.”
Determined to make a difference in the lives of other young girls, Olivia is now part of Project Prom Dress—a student run organization dedicated to collecting prom dresses, accessories, and cash donations for underprivileged teenage girls. Project Prom dress is a result of combined efforts from both Alfred State’s Emerging Pioneers Leadership Program and Delta Chi Omega sorority.
“Though the idea is not an original one—many similar groups are found throughout the U.S.—such a movement could not have come at a more ideal time,” says Alyshia M. Zurlick, assistant director of the Student Leadership Center at Alfred State. “Now more than ever in today's precarious economy, people are simply unable to drop hundreds of dollars on a dress that will only be worn once. But Allegany and surrounding county’s girls don’t have to worry about that this year.”
Last spring, student Kayla Franchina organized the very first dress drive at Alfred State. More than 750 dresses and 50 brand-new pairs of shoes were donated for this successful event. Since then, more than $20,000 in dresses has been donated from consignment shops throughout the area. This fall, the group took the dresses to a local school whose families could not easily afford to travel to Alfred for the event.
Of course, Olivia and the other volunteers aren’t stopping at dresses. Currently they are working on sponsoring a prom for a local high school that cannot obtain the funding to host one for its junior and senior classes. “We want to do everything that we can to give these girls a great experience and the opportunity to find a dress that they love for their prom,” Olivia says. “Knowing I am helping to make a difference for these girls feels amazing.”
Want to learn more about Project Prom Dress? Visit us in SLC Room 412 or contact Alyshia Zurlick at ZurlicAM@alfredstate.edu.