Wellington Secondary School Grade 12 students Emma Campbell, left, and Holly Cochrane show off a couple of dress samples available from Prom Closet Nanaimo. The non-profit has about 400 prom dresses in all colours, styles and sizes, which it will offer free to graduating teens. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Prom Closet helps Island grads get prom perfect

Hundreds of dresses and suits at February boutique are free for graduating students

There are no glass slippers or fairy godmothers at Prom Closet Nanaimo, but volunteers are helping teens feel like the belle of the ball without breaking the bank.

Prom Closet, a non-profit, is all about dialing down the financial pressure of prom and giving Vancouver Island’s graduating students an alternative to buying new.

Since it opened in 2015, it’s helped more than 100 students from communities like Nanaimo, Duncan, Port Alberni and Ahousaht.

Prom can be a “huge expense,” with the gown, hair, makeup and sometimes, nails, eyelashes and limousines, according to Moira Rispin, secretary for John Barsby Secondary’s counselling department, who says it “gets really crazy” and doesn’t take long to get up to $1,000.

Rispin said Prom Closet is a really great service, particularly for kids with financial need, adding it might be the deciding factor if they go to prom or not. But she also finds the organization is an option for students who are socially responsible. There are lots of young people who don’t want to spend money when it’s not necessary and they can reuse, she said.

With this year’s formal around the corner, the organization has an estimated 400 new and lightly used gowns in a kaleidoscope of colour and rhinestones, from sleek styles to princess poof, and sizes 0-26 for students to choose from. There are also wraps, purses and jewelry, as well as suits, tuxedos and shirts.

It’s all free for graduating guys and girls.

Personal assistants will even help students find the right outfit, make the necessary alterations and have it delivered in time for the big night.

“We’ve had moms in tears. We’ve had kids who don’t believe that it’s free,” said Prom Closet coordinator Joan Hiemstra of a boutique event where students pick their outfits. “Some of these girls are so used to looking at price tags, so when there are no price tags and they can actually choose what they like regardless of price, it doesn’t have to be on the clearance rack, they are like kids in a candy shop.

“It can be emotional sometimes, but mostly it’s fun.”

Prom Closet volunteer Theresa Ratzlaff said the best part of volunteering is seeing the person’s face light up when they have the outfit on that they know they’re going to wear to prom, they feel special and it’s made the event magical for them.

Students can e-mail promcloset.nanaimo@gmail.com to make an appointment for the prom boutique Feb. 20-24. There are also short date dresses for non-graduates for a suggested $20 donation.

The organization is also seeking donations of suits and tuxedos. For more information about Prom Closet visit www.promclosetnanaimo.ca.



news@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

North Cowichan makes decision on 2019 forestry plans and budget

Anticipated shortfall of $150,000 for the 2019 budget to be offset

Municipality to review snow removal in Chemainus

One mix-up led to plowing not being done according to plan

Fuller Lake skaters impressive at Island regionals

Dawe overcomes injury for two high placings in interpretive, freeskate

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

VIDEO: Massive elk herd runs across Washington State highway

Elk have been making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest

BREAKING: Woman, off-duty cop stabbed outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Winter storm freezes U.S., halts air travel

Storm dumps snow or heavy rain, snarls travel in much of U.S.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Skier sued me to exploit my fame, wealth

The incident happened in Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read