Say yes to the prom dress


Izzy Sobel ('24)

People in the community donated about 600 dresses for teens to choose from.

Finding the perfect prom dress is an important component of the prom season. Usually, these dresses are only worn once and are in good enough condition to be donated. These lightly-used dresses could help other students have the same experience picking out the perfect prom dress. On March 8-9, Camden County Shero’s had a Say Yes to the Prom Dress event at the Camden County Boathouse. This event helped high school juniors and seniors all over the South Jersey area fulfill their dreams of wearing a beautiful dress to prom. Many people in the community could donate new or gently used prom dresses, hangers, gowns, cocktail dresses, suits, and handbags. The drop-off locations included the Camden County Office of the Sheriff, Camden County Parks Department, the Office of the Camden County Prosecutor, and the Camden County Police Department. People in the community also advertised this event on various Facebook groups allowing those who were interested in donating to send the volunteers their address to pick up the dresses. Teens were invited to register on designated dates and times to pick out a prom dress, accessories, and shoes so they can have the perfect prom experience.
“I saw this event happening in Atlantic County and wanted to see if I could bring it to Camden County. I wanted to see if we could do it here and get the county and law offices involved,” says Coordinator Lieutenant Sharon D. Grate-Hameen.
This was the first time Camden County could host an event like this, and the coordinators are pushing to make this an annual event so everyone can get the experience of picking out a perfect dress. Initially, teens could only attend by appointment, but the people running the event were able to accommodate walk-ins. The Camden County Boathouse was the perfect place to hold this event because it was the county building and it was free. The Boathouse also wasn’t too far from where the students who had appointments lived. Teens from all over Camden County came to the event in hopes of searching for the right dress. The volunteers running the event helped fulfill everyone’s envisions and brought them to life with the accessories and jewelry. There was even a DJ, a waiting area for parents, a dressing room, and food! Volunteers were able to assist with the teens’ needs as they were stationed in the dressing rooms by finding more dresses and taking photos. All the people who volunteered were required to wear black as they posed as “personal shoppers.” As mentioned before, there weren’t just dresses for sale, but also suits to try on as well. Once the high schoolers said “yes to the dress,” there was a celebration held by all of the volunteers. The teen held up a sign that read, “Yes To The Dress” and they got to take pictures in front of the flower wall. Afterward, they got to pick out jewelry and accessories. In total, there were 600 dresses to choose from!
“Especially with the economy, I know a lot of parents won’t be able to give their [kids] the dresses that they want, it’s too tough right now,” says Grate-Hameen.
Although prom season is very stressful, it is typically one of the most memorable nights for teens, and it’s so great seeing everyone dress up in an outfit they love. Teens should be able to share the same experience selecting the perfect prom dress to wear, even if they don’t have the means to pick out a brand new dress from a store. This was definitely a great experience for both the volunteers helping the high schoolers pick out dresses and the teens getting the dresses they love. Prom is a very exciting time, and this event was so great considering those who cannot afford to spend that much on a dress were able to have the real-life experience of picking out a dress they love, and accessorizing with jewelry and handbags.