One local group wants to help ease the financial burden for girls in need with a free dress and etiquette class to help them gain confidence for their first big night out.
The ladies with the Smahrt Girl Foundation have been collecting evening gowns so that young girls who may not be able to afford a dress can feel special on their prom night.
"My inspiration for the foundation is to be a bridge to those who don't have access to resources, but things that can propel them into the future," president of Smahrt Solutions Pamela Ellis said.
Ellis launched the organization after her own struggles to make a transition into a big city after living in a rural community.
"I grew up in a very small town with very limited access to resources," Ellis said.
In this first year of the Smahrt Girl Foundation Prom Drive, Ellis has partnered with several retailers, such as Spoiled By Designs Originals to help collect the dresses.
"There is always a student with a need," said Spoiled By Design Originals designer Diannetta Chargois.
Most of the dresses have been worn just once, and some still have the price tags on them! Each dress once retailed for hundreds of dollar and they are now all available to young ladies. And it's not just dresses.
"We have people to donate shoes, purses, accessories, so until the supplies run out, they are there for the girls to pick," said Genyne Vinson with the Smahrt Girl Foundation.
But it's not just about the dress. Ellis says it is important for the teens to feel good on the outside, the real purpose of the Smahrt Girl Foundation is for girls to gain that inner confidence by participating in Smahrt Girl Sessions.
This Saturday, girls will be able to attend an etiquette , style, and beauty workshop where they learn everything they will need for their big night – including hair and makeup tips to help girls look and feel their best.
"We are really focused on the eternal, the etiquette training, the girl talk we are going to do-- it really teaches the girl about beauty from the inside," Ellis said.
After the class, the girls will be able to shop for the prom dress and accessories without paying a dime.
Girls interested in receiving a free dress need to register online here.