Free prom dresses and a whole lot of gratitude - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Free prom dresses and a whole lot of gratitude

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

Prom is the pinnacle of the high school experience - something most of us don't forget.

That's why a local group wants to make sure every girl has a special night, even if they can't afford it. 

"It's always like, you are worried you won't be able to make that one big experience," said a local student, Jasmine Williams.

Prom can be expensive, between the dress, shoes, and accessories - not to mention rentals. That's why It Takes A Village started an annual giveaway called Girls and Gowns.

"We want to see every young lady be able to have the opportunity to enjoy their prom," said President Bernice Gordon-Young. "It's a special day, and we want them to be able to get the best dress possible to make that reality come true."

They set up a boutique-style shop, featuring hundreds of dresses, makeup and hair consultants, and racks upon racks of shoes.

"We wanted to give the real WOW factor," Gordon-Young explained,  "and let them know that these dresses are new, or gently used, and in great condition."

"It really makes me happy," said another student, Keayja Williams. She saw her dream dress at Davids Bridal months ago, with a $500 price tag. She couldn't afford it then, but to her surprise, she found the exact dress on the rack at Girls and Gowns - and got it for free.

"I appreciate it so much," she quipped.

"The had my dream dress just sitting there," continued Jasmine, "and I get to have something new and exciting, it's amazing. Without this I wouldn't have been able to get a dress just because money is so tight."

The Girls and Gowns giveaway wouldn't have happened without people looking to lend a hand. 

"When you have the chance to give back to your community, you take it," Jasmine said. "You have no idea what day you are making for someone else - so even if it seems like something as insignificant as throwing a dress in a box, you're making someone else's night."

If you'd like to donate, click here for more information and ask for Bernice Gordon-Young. You can also message her directly on their Facebook page. 

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