Wellington Secondary School Grade 12 students Emma Campbell, left, and Holly Cochrane show off a couple of dress samples available from Prom Closet Nanaimo. The non-profit has about 400 prom dresses in all colours, styles and sizes, which it will offer free to graduating teens. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Prom Closet helps Island grads get prom perfect

Hundreds of dresses and suits at February boutique are free for graduating students

There are no glass slippers or fairy godmothers at Prom Closet Nanaimo, but volunteers are helping teens feel like the belle of the ball without breaking the bank.

Prom Closet, a non-profit, is all about dialing down the financial pressure of prom and giving Vancouver Island’s graduating students an alternative to buying new.

Since it opened in 2015, it’s helped more than 100 students from communities like Nanaimo, Duncan, Port Alberni and Ahousaht.

Prom can be a “huge expense,” with the gown, hair, makeup and sometimes, nails, eyelashes and limousines, according to Moira Rispin, secretary for John Barsby Secondary’s counselling department, who says it “gets really crazy” and doesn’t take long to get up to $1,000.

Rispin said Prom Closet is a really great service, particularly for kids with financial need, adding it might be the deciding factor if they go to prom or not. But she also finds the organization is an option for students who are socially responsible. There are lots of young people who don’t want to spend money when it’s not necessary and they can reuse, she said.

With this year’s formal around the corner, the organization has an estimated 400 new and lightly used gowns in a kaleidoscope of colour and rhinestones, from sleek styles to princess poof, and sizes 0-26 for students to choose from. There are also wraps, purses and jewelry, as well as suits, tuxedos and shirts.

It’s all free for graduating guys and girls.

Personal assistants will even help students find the right outfit, make the necessary alterations and have it delivered in time for the big night.

“We’ve had moms in tears. We’ve had kids who don’t believe that it’s free,” said Prom Closet coordinator Joan Hiemstra of a boutique event where students pick their outfits. “Some of these girls are so used to looking at price tags, so when there are no price tags and they can actually choose what they like regardless of price, it doesn’t have to be on the clearance rack, they are like kids in a candy shop.

“It can be emotional sometimes, but mostly it’s fun.”

Prom Closet volunteer Theresa Ratzlaff said the best part of volunteering is seeing the person’s face light up when they have the outfit on that they know they’re going to wear to prom, they feel special and it’s made the event magical for them.

Students can e-mail promcloset.nanaimo@gmail.com to make an appointment for the prom boutique Feb. 20-24. There are also short date dresses for non-graduates for a suggested $20 donation.

The organization is also seeking donations of suits and tuxedos. For more information about Prom Closet visit www.promclosetnanaimo.ca.



news@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Inside the music

Big Read: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Frost backs Town of Port McNeill’s temporary legal cannabis sales ban

“I spoke with all the councillors and was kept up to date with what was going on.”

Seal attacks kayakers in the Broughton Archipelago

“It has to be one chance in a million of this happening.”

BC Ferries delays launch of Northern Sea Wolf route

For the second time, BC Ferries delays direct service from Port Hardy to Bella Coola

Historic Hornsby Crawler housing at hand

Construction for Hornsby Crawler structure approved by RDMW

BC Games: Day 1 comes to an end

Medals have already been handed out following one day of competition in the 2018 BC Summer Games

Open water swimming from B.C. to Washington in 24 hours

The swim will take a full day, meaning Susan Simmons will be swimming in the black of night

Cigarette packs with graphic images, blunt warnings are effective: focus groups

Warnings considered effective flag ailments smoking can cause, like colorectal and stomach cancers

Canada’s title hopes quashed at Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco

On the men’s side, Canada was eliminated in the round of 16 as they were shut out by Argentina 28-0

‘We are doing the right thing:’ Protesters dig in at anti-pipeline camp

B.C. Supreme Court ruled in March that both the camp and a nearby watch house could remain in place

Astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

Alexander Gerst becomes an astronaut musician with live performance from International Space Station

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

ZONE 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

Most Read