FRANKLIN—Over 200 teenagers—many of whom find prom too expensive—took home prom dresses and accessories at the “Sisters in Training for Life Prom Dress Giveaway” April 15 and 16 at Franklin High School.
The event was organized by EmPoWER Family Success Center and Sisters in Training for Life, an after school mentoring program for girls at FHS.
“Prom can cost up to $2,000 and sometimes more. This drive allows girls to attend prom who otherwise would not be able to,” said Stacy Hale, FHS Student Assistant Coordinator and advisor of Sisters in Training for Life.
“It’s anywhere from $100 to $800 for a dress. Then you have makeup, hair, prom ticket, a limo, jewelry, a corsage, shoes. And then most people rent a place for after prom at the shore,” Hale said.
This is the first year FHS is partnering with EmPoWER FSC, who started a drive last year to send prom dresses throughout all of Somerset County. Pastor Tim, Director of EmPoWER FSC, said that drive was hard to encompass so the organization narrowed down.
“This year we have more dresses, more variety, more trending style,” Pastor Tim said. “Some girls even prefer the dresses that are here to other places.”
Students were allowed to pick dresses during their lunch period or after school. This was enough time for many of them to try dresses on, ask their friends how they looked and find one they liked.
“They look nice, fit nice, and there’s a variety of sizes. All the students can find something they like,” Savannah Holness, senior, said.
Sheyna Brittion, senior, says Sisters in Training for Life teaches girls how to communicate, help others and work together.
“We have a bond—a sisterhood through the activities,” Mariah Frater, senior, said. “We help others to feel good about themselves and want to make sure girls are successful after high school.”
Another high cost of prom FHS is trying to offset is unsafe health choices. FHS is promoting the campaign “Parents Who Host Lose the Most” with the Franklin Township Municipal Alliance Prevention of Substance Abuse for the first time this year. The message of the campaign to the community is that teen alcohol consumption is unhealthy, unsafe and unacceptable.
54% of the 2013 Teen Forum participants in Franklin reported attending a party where parents allowed teens to drink alcohol. To reduce this, liquor stores near FHS have flyers promoting the program, and FHS made the event “Parties, Proms and Pitfalls” mandatory for those attending prom. This event teaches students the risk of alcohol and other unsafe health choices.
Drop off locations from the prom dress drive came from Salvation Army Corps, Bound Brook, NJ; Bridgewater Marriott, Bridgewater, NJ; Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg, NJ; and FHS. The Record and Bio/Chem Club hosted the drop off at RVCC. About 350 dresses came in.
Wegmans in Bridgewater donated several bags of makeup. The remaining dresses were donated to a dress drive organized by radio station Star 99.1