PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) – The Dream Center in Peoria is hosting its prom dress giveaway, “PROMise of Hope” this weekend for local high school students for the 8th year.
The annual event gives young girls the opportunity to shop for donated prom dresses, shoes, make-up, hair accessories, and more. There is absolutely no cost and everything is free.
Cares Director, Krista Bergthold, said this event is important to give high school girls an equal chance to experience something special. “We just see a need in our community of people not being able to afford getting to go to prom, so when they don’t get to go to prom, they don’t get the same experience as their classmates.”
Dresses and accessories are all donated from the community. Faith Delong, from Limestone Community High School, said she is grateful for those who have donated the dresses so girls like her can experience something like this. “People are just giving, they think about others, not just themselves. They’re not worried about getting money back from something that they just spent for one night.”
There are seamstresses on spot to help the girls with their dresses and corsages being made at the event. Personal shoppers are on hand to assist each girl with selecting a dress and accessories to go with it. Once a girl has picked out a dress, she gets to walk down the red carpet and show it off.
“I feel like this is the prom experience, like, you get to come here and pick out your dress and you get to feel so pretty and walk the red carpet. There’s no judgement here, there is none, and everyone around you is hyping you up and you don’t have to worry about feeling out of your skin,” said Gwenyth Wage, a student at East Peoria Community High School.
Bergthold said seeing the event come together has been magical. “I’ve gotten goosebumps a few times this morning. It’s just been so special to see these girls just feel so beautiful being able to just have that experience, to find a dress they love, when they get to walk up the red carpet and everyone is cheering for them, it’s just so special.”
High school girls from the area can check out the full closet at the Dream Center at 714 Hamilton Blvd. in Peoria on Friday, March 3rd from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Dream Center also takes dress donations Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. year-round.
To learn more about the Dream Center you can visit their website here.