Project Prom helps high school students find formal dresses


Sindu Kadavakolanu, graduate computer science major, sorts through prom dresses for Project Prom at the Women’s Resource Center Wednesday afternoon. Project Prom offers free dresses to girls who want to attend prom but may not have the funds to purchase a dress. The WRC is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

By Hailey Kurth

When thinking of things one might find in an attic, a hip prom dress wouldn’t top most people’s list — until they saw the attic of NIU’s Women’s Resource Center.

Carrie Williams, assistant director of the women’s resource center, said the organization started Project Prom to provide free prom and formal dresses to high school students in the area. Williams said families have come from as far as Plainfield to pick out a dress, and NIU students also use the service.

“As the economy had become less predictable, the Women’s Resource Center wanted to do something to help support economically-stressed families in the community,” Williams said.

Besides using Project Prom for finding dresses, Williams said NIU students also donate their dresses to the program. Project Prom accepts any new or gently used formal dresses that one no longer wants, Williams said.

Freshman nursing major Jailon Berry said she recently picked out a strapless charcoal dress when a friend of hers needed a date for prom. Berry said finding a dress she liked in Project Prom’s collection wasn’t a problem.

“I guess the hardest part was finding the right size,” Berry said. “You can see a dress you like, but it’s not the right size.”

Williams said new dresses are added all the time. Many times, girls will take dresses, but then return them to the collection after they’re done, she said.

“Project Prom is a way to give back to the community through providing an avenue for families that were searching for affordable and beautiful dresses to celebrate an important occasion,” Williams said.