Prom is back on this year, and the Stillwater YMCA is helping girls in Stillwater and the surrounding area get ready for their special nights with the Prom It Forward dress give-away.
Stillwater YMCA Program Director Jamie Overton was inspired to start the dress donation drive last year after seeing something similar at the Perry YMCA.
The response was gratifying and almost overwhelming, with almost 200 gently-worn formal dresses donated within a few weeks.
Although a fair number of girls left with dresses at last year’s event, the stock is back up thanks to the donations that rolled in after this year’s event was announced.
“Every day I come in, I see a new dress in my office waiting to be hung up,” Overton said.
The dresses are fashionable and in good condition with styles and colors to fit almost any taste. Some shoes and a limited amount of jewelry will also be be available.
There are no income guidelines to “shop” at Prom It Forward. With average prom costs exceeding $900 according to a 2015 study by Visa, a lot of people could use help making the evening more affordable.
The Prom It Forward dress give-away will be held at the Stillwater YMCA, 204 S. Duck St., beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday and is open to any young woman in the area.
There is a good variety, both long and short, so the girls who come in could also look ahead to other events like homecoming or winter formal as they’re looking for a prom outfit, Overton said.
There is no charge for any of the dresses or accessories but – in keeping with the event’s name – the YMCA asks each girl to sign an agreement saying they will either return their dress when they’re done with it so someone else can wear it or pay it forward by giving it to someone else who needs it.
The YMCA will be taking health precautions Saturday for people attending Prom It Forward.
Masks will be required and temperature checks will be done at the YMCA entrance.
The racks will be spread out in the gymnasium and there will be multiple fitting areas for trying on dresses. There will be volunteers there hanging the dresses back up.
“The thing I want people to know is it’s not just for Stillwater girls,” Overton said. “We’re trying to help as many girls as we can … 20 girls walked away with dresses last year and we thought that was great. If even more girls could find dresses this year we would love that.”