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Maple Grove Voice

The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes Hosts 2019 Project Prom Dress Collection, Distribution

Mar 07, 2019 05:24AM ● By Wendy Erlien

(photo provided by Project Prom Founder Jeni Asaba)

Last year, more than 300 young women from more than 60 high schools throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin found a free prom dress at Project Prom

For the last 12 years, the nonprofit gave away new and gently used dresses to local teenagers during the distribution event

“In 2018, we had 340 girls attend. That was up from 185 the previous year. As the program grows, more and more girls come back to us, and they’re bringing their friends," Project Prom founder Jeni Asaba said. "It’s exciting to see familiar and new faces each year!” Asaba predicts more than 400 girls will come to this year’s Project Prom.

For 2019, The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove will be hosting the distribution in an empty storefront on March 22-24. During the event, each attending teen is greeted by a volunteer who helps her “shop” for her perfect dress. Once she finds her dream gown, she takes it home – free. 

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host Project Prom again this year! They work tirelessly to make a difference for young women in our community and we are glad to be able to partner with them to provide a location,” The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes Marketing Director Jennie Zafft said. 

The event is open to any girl who is attending prom and would benefit from a free dress. 
While most of the new or gently-used prom or bridesmaid dresses are donated from community members, local businesses also support Project Prom with donations of new dresses and other goods and services such as dry cleaning vouchers, salon gift cards, and more. 

“Asking parents to pay hundreds of dollars on the dress alone is cost prohibitive for many families,” Asaba said. “That’s where we come in. This year’s Project Prom will have approximately 1,500 dresses of all colors, sizes and styles. And they’re all free.”

Teens interested participating can book an appointment online here: https://www.projectprom.us/ Everyone interested in attending must have an appointment to attend and early registration is suggested.

For the first year, Project Prom is also supporting A Night to Remember Prom, a special event that honors young adults, ages 15-25, with special needs. A Night to Remember Prom attendees are invited to a special Project Prom dress selection event on March 16 and 17. All students or adults with special needs who are attending prom or a similar prom event are welcome to attend this dress distribution. To sign up, those individuals are asked to email projectprom.us@gmail.com for registration information.

Project Prom, a 501(c)(3), operates entirely on donations. Organizations or individuals who are interested in donating money, goods or services can visit www.projectprom.us for more information or email ProjectProm.US@gmail.com.

How organizations and individuals can help:

• Donate Dresses: Project Prom relies entirely donations, most of which come directly from
members of the community. Through March 14, dress donations can be dropped off at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes Guest Services Office (across from the parking ramp) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other drop off locations can be found at https://www.projectprom.us/donation-sites/

• Donate goods or services: Gift certificates for hair/nail services, dry cleaning, alterations, etc.

• Monetary donations: 100% of the donations are used to help sustain the program.

“Prom is a rite of passage in many ways. There’s no reason a young woman shouldn’t attend because of cost. We hope that by eliminating the expense of a dress, more girls can enjoy the special night and make memories that will last a lifetime,” Asaba said.

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