For many high school girls however, prom may not be a time of glitz and glamour because of the great expenses it takes to attend a prom.
One senior at Cedartown High School hopes to remedy some of that struggle by starting a program that asks fellow CHS students and people from the community to donate prom dresses.
The dresses will then be given to underprivileged girls so they can attend prom without the expense of purchasing a dress.
Allison Shaw, who started the program called “Dress to Impress”, said she saw a need for this program in the community, and she had not heard of anything like this being done.
The dresses will be given away April 8, between 6-8 p.m. at the Cedartown Library. Shaw said they will provide a place for girls to try on dresses, and she stressed that there are no fees required.
Girls from schools other than CHS are invited to come and get dresses.
“We hope to have prom and formal party dresses available,” Shaw said. She added there will be dresses of all colors and styles.
Shaw said if someone donates a dress that is not used, they will be able to get the dress back. If she ends up with a surplus of dresses, she will probably donate them to goodwill, she said.
Shaw is also careful not to give off the wrong impression by this project.
“I don’t want any girls to be embarrassed,” Shaw said. “I don’t want a girl in the high school to think that another girl does not have enough money. That is the main reason I didn’t want to give the dresses out here at the school.”
Shaw said the giveaway will be a private thing.
The project began on the school level through a sponsorship with the CHS Health Occupation Students of America. Now, Shaw is hoping to reach out to the community to get more of a response.
She has collected 30 dresses thus far, and is expecting 20 more soon. People as far away as Cartersville and Carrollton have called about donating a dress, Shaw said.
The deadline for donating dresses is Monday, March 28.
Shaw said her mother, Connie Shaw, has been very supportive and influential in the project. She has helped make fliers, coordinate plans and she got permission to use the library for the giveaway.
Shaw said it was her mother that originally gave her the idea. “I’m very close with my mother,” Shaw said.
Shaw explained that she was struggling to find out what to do with an old prom dress.
“My mom told me that if I donated the dress, she would give me $100,” Shaw said.
It soon gave her the idea to turn the idea into a community-wide project that is “Dress to Impress.”
“I told my mom the next day, that is what I have to do,” Shaw said. “It was a no brainer.”
Due to her job, she saw a need for this type of project in the community. Shaw works at Polk County Department of Family and Children Services as a student worker.
Shaw said the job has exposed her to things that normal teenagers do not see.
“The experiences at my job have created a lot of thoughts of how to help others,” Shaw said.
While this is a new experience for her, Shaw is happy to start a project that could potentially help a lot of people. She said if the project is a success this year she will probably do it again.
Shaw is hoping this event is a huge success, but said she is nervous that it may not turn out as she would like.
“At first I was nervous that I wouldn’t get any donations,” Shaw said. “But now that I am getting a lot of dresses, I am nervous that no one will show up to the giveaway.”
To donate, contact Shaw or her mother at 678-988-3710 or 770-749-1083, or call CHS HOSA advisor Brigitte Tillery at 770-748-0490.
Shaw said the dresses can be dropped off at Cedartown High School, or she can possibly arrange to pick a dress up.
The CHS Prom will be May 14 at Cherokee Country Club.