Prom can be a very empowering experience for a young woman. For many, it’s the first occasion to get glammed up and go out to an event whose memory may last a lifetime.
But some memories come with a hefty price tag — the average cost to attend prom in the northeast was around $700 in 2017, according to the Yahoo! Prom Across America study. That’s the most out of any teen group in the nation, the report states.
For a lot of students, the cost is just not feasible. WGIRLS Inc. is trying to solve that problem with its Project G.L.A.M. effort, which gives gently used and new prom dresses to girls in need.
This year’s pop-up G.L.A.M shop for students is this weekend, April 20 to 22, and there are still ways you can help at least one girl make a memory.
Who does this help exactly?
Young women in high schools across the five boroughs, who otherwise could not afford a prom dress, are the recipients of the donations.
This year, there are more than 1,500 girls in need from more than 65 schools — most of which are Title I schools, meaning they have higher numbers of children from low-income families and therefore receive funding to help students.
Each girl is vetted through her school guidance counselor, teachers and/or social worker in order to take part in Project G.L.A.M.
How do I know if my dress is good for donation?
Dresses must be from 2008 or later, unless it’s black (let’s face it, black dresses are timeless). They also must also be prom appropriate — knit and casual day dresses won’t be accepted.
Anything with rips or stains won’t be used, so check your dress before you send it.
What dresses are needed the most right now?
The hardest sizes for the girls to find are the smaller, petite sizes, from 00 to 2 and 4, and plus sizes, according to Sarah Munley, the coordinator for volunteers and G.L.A.M. activities.
How many dresses are up for grabs?
There are more than 8,000 prom dresses ready to be distributed, Munley said.
How do they get the dresses?
WGIRLS Inc. sets up a pop-up shop, where girls can browse and select their dresses. This year’s shop is open this weekend.
Do they get anything else?
A number of companies donate new dresses and accessories, including Project Glimmer, Mixed Chicks, Eloquii, Lovely Bride and Prom Girl. Accessories like necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even some cosmetics are made available at no cost as well.
So how do I do it?
Simply send your gown to
WGIRLS Inc. Project G.L.A.M.
33 Largo Lane
Clark, NJ 07066
If I can’t donate a dress now, how else can I help?
With more than 1,000 girls to help, there’s much to be done. You can volunteer at the pop-up shop by signing up online. There are time slots you can specifically work between Friday and Sunday.
You also can sponsor a girl with the $5 Project G.L.A.M. Prom Pledge. The pledge covers the expense of sending one girl to prom, according to Munley. Expenses the organization encounters include the price of storing so many dresses to logistical problems like moving them.
Finally, check out some of WGIRLS Inc.’s events, like its drag bingo night at Juke Bar on May 3. Drag divas will hand out prizes to those who win.
Why should I help?
Since it began in 2007, Project G.L.A.M. has sent 13,284 fashionable young women in need to prom. Being able to go to prom in a beautiful dress is a rite of passage for many women, according to WGIRLS Inc., and so by providing dresses, precious memories are made.