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Center Offers No Stress Prom Help
OHS senior Alexandria Crump, right, gets some help from Erika Steves of the Center for Human Services Oakdale Family Resource and Counseling Center during the first day of the Project Prom: Dont Stress the Dress event on March 16. The next event is March 30. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

To get ready for the prom, the combined expenses of a prom ticket, hair, makeup, jewelry, shoes, and a matching bag really add up. The biggest expense, however, is often the dress.

Teenage girls from Oakdale High School recently browsed a circular rack of formal dresses for the prom but there weren’t any price tags and they weren’t at a department store. The girls were “shopping” on March 16 at the Oakdale Family Resource and Counseling Center, a branch of the Center for Human Services (CHS), on the first day of a special event called “Project Prom: Don’t Stress the Dress.” The two-day event – the next one takes place Friday, March 30 – was created by the Oakdale resource center to serve girls who are feeling the financial burden of attending their high school prom.

Oakdale High School senior Alexandria Crump was at the March 16 event, looking for a cocktail-style dress to wear to this year’s prom. She said that she heard about the Project Prom event through some girls at school who were talking about it, so she decided to check it out. Crump noted that the prom tickets alone are fairly expensive and that last year she borrowed a dress from a friend.

“I think it works out really great because a lot of us don’t really have that much money to spend on dresses,” she said of the event. “So, it gives us an opportunity to get a pretty dress and feel like everyone else.”

Erika Steves, a 2006 OHS graduate and a staff member at the CHS Oakdale Family Resource and Counseling Center came up with the prom dress event idea.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a really long time – since I was in high school,” she said. “I went to my coworkers with the idea and they were really supportive. We’re really excited about the event. We’ve been planning for a while.”

Project Prom is about a lot more than just the dress. The Oakdale resource center is also offering accessories, shoes, and hair and makeup tutorials for the girls.

Crump said she plans to take advantage of the hair and makeup tips that are being offered at the center.
“If you can save on anything, it helps,” she said.

Steves added that a lot of people in the area are feeling financial strains.

“We want to give the girls in our community a chance to go to prom,” Steves said. “…We want to make them feel pampered.”

The Oakdale resource center is still seeking donations up until the day of the March 30 event to help make it a success. They are accepting new and gently used formal gowns, cocktail dresses, and accessories. The resource center is also accepting fashionable men’s ties and bowties, so that the girls may pick a tie that matches their dress and then give it to their prom date.

Steves noted that they would also gladly accept more volunteer help from hairdressers, makeup artists, manicurists, and other beauty professionals to help tutor the girls at the March 30 event on how to get ready for the prom. She said that gift certificates for hair or nails that the girls can use on prom day, as well as gift certificates from restaurants that they can put toward a dinner on prom night would also be appreciated.

For OHS girls in need of a free prom dress, call Erika Steves or Lisa Destro at the Oakdale resource center for more information or to make an appointment at 847-0420. They are scheduling teen girls for appointments for the March 30 event between the hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Each appointment is approximately a half hour and are set for either individuals or small groups. Each girl will receive a prize and will be entered to win one OHS prom ticket.

For more information on the many family services CHS provides, go to the website: