Mission (Not) Impossible: Operation Prom Dress

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What it is:

For many girls, going to prom and getting dolled-up is a rite of passage, a big date, and a night to remember – but for some, going to prom presents unexpected challenges.

According Dr. Julia Jasken, the organizer of Operation Prom Dress, girls in the Appalachian region often attend prom “in their jeans,” if they manage to go at all. In an effort to make this special night really special, Dr. Jasken started collecting prom dresses three years ago. To date, McDaniel has collected about 450 dresses for prom (though nothing should stop anyone from donating other articles of formal wear).

By the numbers:

To put things in perspective, even though prom-wear can be costly and hold a lot of sentimental value, you may never wear it again. Whatever you donate will go to high school students in McDowell County, WV where, according to the US Census Bureau over a third  of people are below the poverty line and the per capita income is about $12,000 – here in Carroll County, 5.3% are below the poverty line (compared to the Maryland average of 8.6%) and the per capita income is about $34,000.

Why I donated (and why you should, too):

I actually donated a prom dress before, even though I never went to prom. To make a long story short, I used to be in a punk band and thought I could wear a discounted, pretty white prom dress while I played my electric bass at shows – y’know, once I covered the dress in stage blood. Sadly, that never happened.

Despite my dreams of grungy glamour, once I saw the Operation Prom Dress flier, I knew that when I went home for Spring Break, I had to get my frothy white dress with the little bows on the bodice. My dress deserved a better home than I had provided. My dress deserved to go to a girl that would really love it. Even more, a girl that wanted to go to prom should have a dress she deserves to have.

So please, when you go home for Spring Break, consider bringing back a dress, gown, suit, pair of shoes, bag, or tiara that you think could use a better home. Even if you don’t have something, maybe you have a friend, sister, aunt – whoever – that might want to give a little glitz and glamour to someone in need.

And hey, there’s nothing stopping you from finding something at Goodwill to donate.

Please donate your dresses by bringing them to the English Department, second floor, Hill Hall. Donations accepted through Friday, March 23. Check out the Facebook event page and invite your friends: http://www.facebook.com/events/244590802297550/