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Maple Grove Voice

The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes Hosts Project Prom Dress Collection, Distribution

Mar 14, 2017 10:08PM ● By Wendy Erlien

Project Prom 2016 (photo provided by Project Prom Founder Jeni Asaba)

Every spring, high school students throughout Minnesota get together for prom or spring formal. 

Enter Project Prom. For the tenth year in a row, the nonprofit organization that collects new and gently used prom and bridesmaid dresses from community members and local businesses will offer them up to anyone in need - completely free. 

The 2017 distribution is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove (in space B4 next to White House | Black Market ). An appointment is required. Visit www.projectprom.us and click ‘Twin Cities Event” (about halfway down the webpage) for available times. For individuals interested in participating, there is no income requirement. 

“It’s really a community event and effort – a lot of people wrapping their arms around local teens to make it happen,” Project Prom Founder Jeni Asaba said. 

Project Prom started in a small office on the Bronx Community College campus in 2007. 

“Part of my job at the time was addressing community needs around issues of poverty,” Asaba said. “Collecting and giving away prom dresses to local, low-income girls was a fun and easy way to make a difference for students in need.” 

Two year later, she moved to Minnesota and continues to give away dresses.  

“The community support we’ve seen in Minnesota is incredible,” she said. “From the businesses that serve as dress drop-off locations, to the hundreds of individuals who donate dresses every year - thank you.”

 This is the first-year collection and distribution will take place at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes.

 “We are thrilled to be involved with Project Prom! Every girl should have the opportunity to attend prom in an amazing gown,” The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes Marketing Director Jennie Zafft said. “We love the mission behind it and think it will be a great fit.”

Students from more than 30 high schools in the metro area attended the event last year – choosing from a selection of hundreds of different styles, sizes, and colors of dresses. 

With every visit, Asaba is witness to the impact the project has on local families. One year, a grandmother brought her two granddaughters who had a challenging home situation. “She didn’t know how she was going to pay for prom for the kids,” Asaba said, stating they were very thankful for the dresses. It is stories like this “that fuels us to keep going,” she said.

The last day to donate dresses is Wednesday, March 15 at one of the following locations:

The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes Management Office, 12459 Elm Creek Blvd, Maple Grove, MN 55369

Allina West Health Pharmacy: 2855 Dr., Plymouth, MN 55411

Salon Halo, 4101 W. Broadway, Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Lake Area Dance Center, 4444 Centerville Road, Suite 140, While Bear Lake, MN 55127

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, 1460 Curve Crest Blvd., Stillwater, MN 55082

 Businesses interested in donating other items can contact Jeni Asaba at ProjectProm.us@gmail.com.  

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