Five years ago Diane Hines-Cooper, seamstress and teacher at Brimm Medical Arts High School, noticed some female students weren’t going to prom because they couldn’t afford the dress that goes along with the big dance.
So Hines-Cooper teamed up with Lourdes Medical Associates/Osborn Family Health Center, a part of the Lourdes Health System, to hold a prom gown drive. It brought in about 40 gowns that first year.
Last year community members donated 455 clean, wearable gowns or dressy cocktail-length dresses and organizers are hoping for even more this time around. Prom accessories including shoes, handbags and jewelry are also welcome through April 15.
“When parents bring their daughters to choose a gown, they can’t believe it’s free,” said Hines- Cooper. “Some parents are almost in tears. You can see the relief and appreciation in their faces. I always tell my students you don’t live until you learn to give, and this is a great example of how much it means when people can work together to make a difference in the community.”