If you aren’t a teenager and you don’t have any such creatures hanging around the house, it probably doesn’t even cross your radar, but this happens to be a very important time of year for high school seniors. Yes, of course, graduation’s coming up—but I’m talking about something almost as important—the Senior Prom. These days, or so I’ve been told, kids don’t necessarily have to be coupled up to attend the Prom–some of them go in groups, which I consider a major act of liberation. But whether she goes with a friend or the guy of her dreams, a teenage girl still needs the dress. And March is when they start shopping for it.
Evening wear—dress, matching shoes and purse, jewelry, hairdo—it can cost hundreds of dollars for a girl to be properly prom-attired. That may be fine in Beverly Hills, but around Oaktown and other working-class ‘hoods, it’s prohibitive. I don’t know what the boys do these days—they probably still rent suits or tuxedos—but Bay Area girls can pay a visit to The Princess Project. Started in 2002, the Princess Project–and programs like it all over the country–collect donations of evening wear and recycle them, gratis, to needy prom-goers. So far, the program has dressed 5000 girls for their proms. This year they’ll be holding their annual dress giveaway on March 17 and 24 in San Francisco. If you want to donate, volunteer, or look for the dress, visit the site.
With all the pressing needs going unmet in the world, some might trivialize a program like the Princess Project, but they’re providing a useful and needed service. No girl should miss out on her prom because she can’t afford the dress. And as Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution!” Vive La Prom!