Prom Dress Charities Share the Glamour

Many girls dream of their high school prom and the gorgeous dress they will wear for the occasion. Prom can be a special evening to get dressed up and enjoy creating memories with friends. With the hard economy and the rising cost of dresses, however, getting to prom can also be a stressful situation. There are many projects out there to help make sure every girl gets to go to prom, no matter her financial situation.

One such project is run by a Tri Kappa philanthropic sorority in Fishers, Indiana. The sorority's 60 members started their Fishers Tri Kappa Prom Dress Sale six years ago after hearing about the rising costs of prom and the negative effect it was having on some students. Tri Kappa member Nancy Reed recalls, "Some girls weren't able to attend prom due to costs--and this broke my heart."

Through their dress sale, the Tri Kappas haven been able to help hundreds of girls achieve their prom dreams, even if finances were an issue. "Our main goal was (and is) to make every girl feel like the beautiful princess she dreams of being," Reed said. "I know that sounds cliche, but every girl deserves that magical feeling at least once in her lifetime."

Each year, they collect dresses either at a donation location or by picking them up themselves. They simply ask for the dresses to have been dry cleaned. Reed explains, "In the past we have received dresses from sororities at Miami of Ohio University, Purdue, Butler, IU, families and friends from as far as Virginia [and] Georgia. Moms and daughters have been very generous!" Last year, the group collected 120 prom dresses, which they checked over and mended or dry cleaned as needed.

Once the dresses are ready for resale, the organization uses a local government center and dress racks purchased from closing stores to set up a showroom for girls to find the dress of their dreams. When girls come to the sale, Tri Kappas help them look for dresses to fit their size and style. Reed describes the sale as a special day for the group and the girls: "They love it when we 'ooo and ahhh' over them. We also have a wonderful local florist who donated corsages and boutonnieres for the girls and their dates. We had members donate manicures/pedicures for drawings."

In order to be able to attend the sale, a girl just needs to show a school ID (or other ID for homeschool proms). The dresses sell for $10 to $40. The Tri-Kappa Prom Dress Sale is a totally not-for-profit event. Any proceeds go back into the project and are used for dry cleaning or for buying jewelry and accessories to sell the next year at a reduced price. Recently, the organization has also started collecting dresses suitable for fraternity or sorority college formals.

The Fishers Tri Kappa Prom Dress Sale is just one excellent example of a project available in many communities across the United States. To find a local prom dress sale you can donate your prom dress to or buy your dress from, visit

If there's not a local prom dress project in your area, consider starting one! Recycling prom or formal dresses would make a great project for Girl Scouts, Key Clubs, or even your prom committee.

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