This spring, many high school students will dress up in lavish suits or dresses and attend what some call the most important night of a teen’s life: prom.
For some though, the items needed for the special night can rack up in costs, including the dresses, flowers, jewelry, makeup, hair styles and more. A lot of students choose to or are not able to attend because of these costs. Two DeKalb County women are helping solve this problem this prom season.
Christi Silvers and Mercedes Gant, both of Fort Payne, are working to provide free prom amenities for five girls from each school in the county. Their new program, Sisters Helping Sisters, is 100 percent funded by donations from the community.
It started after Gant went to Facebook last week to ask for help with providing a borrowed dress for one of her employees. Gant was working in Birmingham and the employee is a student in the Jefferson County school system and is currently in the foster care system, as well. The student had decided not to attend her prom because she was not able to find a dress in her size that she could afford. After Gant reached out to her Facebook friends, she received hundreds of dollars, along with other services such as flowers, photos and hair styling, donated for the young woman. Some donations came from across the country, she said.
Silvers then realized it was something needed in every community, and she and Gant began working on providing the service to girls here in DeKalb. The two are working to provide formal dresses, jewelry, shoes, flowers, hair styling and makeup for five girls for approximately 40 girls in their inaugural year of a program they hope to continue each year.
Along with helping the girls get ready the day of, they plan to send them off with a goodie bag of lipstick, a makeup blender and more.
Two donation days will be held this Saturday, Feb. 15 and n Feb. 29 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the AT&T Store located at 1614 Glenn Blvd SW, Fort Payne. Silvers said anyone donating items to please pull around to the back of the store and there will be an area where volunteers will be set up. The dresses and shoes can be returned to the owner after the event, if needed.
• Formal dresses of all sizes
• Dress shoes of all sizes
• Makeup blenders
The ladies are also asking anyone in the community that can donate time or services, to contact them about providing hair styling, makeup or just encouragement.
“If anybody wants to volunteer they can come help them get ready,” Silvers said. “It’s fun to have people fall all over you and tell you how pretty you are and things like that. This could be the first time they’ve ever gotten this dressed up and even coming and helping them with little things while getting ready could really help.”
Gant said they have a few people already willing to come help, but they need many more.
“I know we’re looking for anyone that can do hair and makeup, as well as any photographers that would like to donate their time to take their pictures for them, or any florists that want to donate flowers,” she said.
There will be four dates for proms in the county, and they need places to let the girls get ready each time.
“If there is anyone that has a small business that has an area that they would like to donate for one of the prom dates for us to use, that would be amazing as well,” Gant said.
• Hair styling
• Makeup application
• General volunteers
“If you can’t donate anything but your time, I think that’s important, too,” Silvers said.
Dates for volunteers:
• March 14: Plainview
• March 20: Valley Head and Collinsville
• March 28: Sylvania
• April 4: Fort Payne, Fyffe, Ider and Geraldine
As the dates grow closer, a list of venues and times will be released for volunteers to come help. They will need the most volunteers on March 20 and April 4 due to more than one school holding proms those days, Silvers said.
A Venmo account has been set up for monetary donations at @Christi-Silvers, or contact Silvers at email@example.com or text at 256-674-3456 or Gant at 205-915-6187.
“Every girl deserves to feel like a princess for at least a day, so we just need to make that happen,” Gant said.