With prom season around the corner, high school girls all over America will soon be waiting for the seven words they’re dying to hear: “Will you go to prom with me?”
According to a survey done by Visa Inc., the average American household spent nearly $978 on proms in 2014. While some have room in their budget for such a large expense, others do not. This is where My Sister’s Closet steps in.
“I saw the number of families that struggled with the cost of prom. We began collecting dresses and made them available to the students in need of them,” Guidance Program Coordinator Silvana Cavazos said.
The organization helps local teens afford the event by providing teens with dresses, makeup, accessories, shoes and any other items needed for the dance.
It began in 2007 when Azusa Pacific student and current Associate Director of Academic Advising and Retention Stephanie Orona became interested in doing a major project. At the time, Cavazos was the homelessness liaison for Azusa School District. Together, they began impacting the community.
Over the past eight years, the organization has continued to thrive off donations from the area.
“This city embraced a simple project that was supported by so many individuals. It is the people that have made this project what it is today. We have had students from as many as 35 high schools participate in our event,” Cavazos said.
Last year the organization provided over 200 girls with prom attire and plans to do similarly this year with the help of Cavazos, APU’s Social Work Department, Azusa Unified School District Family Resource Center, Azusa/Glendora Soroptimists and the Covina Assistance League.
March 21 in the Los Angeles Pacific College Board Room, teens from all over the San Gabriel Valley will be able to come and “shop” for prom. They will be provided with a personal shopper to help them pick out their favorite dress, accessories, shoes and makeup. A seamstress will be on site to alter the dresses to fit each girl perfectly.
“We really want it to be a one-stop shop where you can get everything done,” said senior social work intern Reggie Cutliff. “We are collecting the dresses, accessories, a seamstress, getting volunteers and registering the girls.”
Volunteers are excited and hopeful for the impact this event will have. “It brings the whole community together when people see that APU is helping,” said senior social work intern Dominique Salido.
“It is not only APU, but it’s Azusa,” Cutliff said. “It kind of allows everybody to come together and bring cohesiveness for the whole city.”
For those interested in donating, the Social Work Department will be accepting donations until Feb. 27.
Volunteers will assist the department in sorting and cleaning dresses, setting up the LAPC, helping customers and creating a positive experience for each girl.
“I think it’s good for us to not just get the credits [service credits], but to really come out and want to serve if you have a passion to help those who are less fortunate and those who wouldn’t be able to afford this opportunity otherwise,” Salido said.
For more information on the event and on how to make a donation, contact Cavazos at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cutliff and Salido at email@example.com.