By Gabriella Ianiro
LIU Post’s women’s field hockey team is collecting prom dresses on campus for Prom Boutique, an event hosted by the Long Island Volunteer Center. The drive benefits young women in the local community who were directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy and who cannot afford to purchase a dress for prom.
The dresses will be collected from now until Tuesday April 2, 2013 and then distributed to high school girls in the local community.
The field hockey team has always wanted to do a prom dress drive, but it never worked out with the teams schedule “timing wise,” explained assistant coach Ashleigh Daniels. “Our team is very involved in community service and this drive is very special to each of us,” said Daniels. This spring, the team finally decided it was the perfect time to participate in the dress drive.
“When we announced the community service project to the team [before spring break], we received nothing but positive feedback and excitement,” said Daniels.
The following week, the girls were off for spring break, digging through their closets and calling for help from all their family and friends back home. “As women, we are all aware of the importance of prom. We want to share and help create that perfect prom experience for other young females. And let’s be honest, it all starts with the dress,” said Daniels.
Freshman Health Science major and field hockey teammate, Heidi Schaffner, explained that she wants to make sure every girl gets her prom experience. “Knowing that prom was one of my favorite memories of high school, I would not want a girl to have to miss the experience because they could not afford a dress to wear,” said Schaffner.
“I brought in a few dresses, as well as hung up a few posters to promote the event, but it is the team effort that will make the difference,” added Schaffner.
Cindy Russell, a freshman Health Science major and field hockey teammate, said, “We chose to do this because we are constantly looking for ways to help and give back to the community, and what better way than to allow a girl to go to her high school prom.”
According to Russell, the team has been posting statuses on Facebook and Twitter to reach out to their friends and family in hopes of increasing the amounts of donations they will receive. “Most of us have donated ourselves and will continue to donate,” said Russell.
“Prom was one of my most treasured and memorable moments in my life. Almost every girl cannot wait until the day that they can go to prom, so I could not imagine not being able to attend. I am especially glad we are able to allow these girls to go to prom,” explained Russell.
Russell explains that they do not get to meet the girls that they are helping, “however that would be a great experience,” she said.
Sarah Montgomery, a junior Education major and field hockey teammate, explained that once they heard about the organization Becca’s Closet, which collects and donates formal attire to young girls with financial need, she and her team deemed it a great cause to support. “I think that everyone should give try and give back and do a little something for someone else,” said Montgomery.
“It’s always a great feeling to help someone out who is less fortunate,” said Montgomery. She hopes to participate in the event every year.
Daniels began researching the cause and was astounded by the amount of organizations that do this every year. Prom dress donations are apparently very popular all over the U.S. “A local organization, we believed, would be best and, as a result, I came across Becca’s Closet,” said Daniels.
The team was informed of an opportunity to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. “Immediately, it hit home for all of us. Our whole area was affected somehow by Sandy and this was another opportunity for us to give back,” said Daniels.
The coaching staff thought it would be great to reach out to the whole LIU community for more support, which is why they have extended the due date for dress collection until Tuesday, April 2, 2013.
The team found out that Becca’s Closet was no longer accepting dresses so the Long Island rep that has been working with the team referred them to Prom Boutique instead.
In the past, Prom Boutique’s focus was on girls who simply could not afford these beautiful and one-time use pieces of clothing. The dresses will be used not only for proms, but also for Sweet 16’s and graduations.
Guidance counselors chose the high school girls that are in need and recommended them directly to the Long Island Volunteer Center. Last year over 1,500 girls were served. The next distribution will take place in May at the Hagedorn Family Resource Center in Hempstead. This distribution is open to community members who cannot afford to purchase this type of item for an occasion they may be invited to.
“Our goal was to collect 24 dresses from our team of 12. Currently, we have 50. We hope this article will motivate our LIU community to bring in more dresses. Our new goal is 75 dresses,” exclaimed Daniels.
Dresses can be dropped off at either the front desk at the Pratt Center or information desk in Hillwood Commons up until Tuesday April 2, 2013.