Amid gloomy economic times that have many households strapped for cash, a memorable night of glitz and glamour is a welcome escape.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of York County want to help area high school students enjoy their spring prom in stunning and affordable attire -- while also raising money to serve children and teens.
The nonprofit organization needs donated prom dresses and accessories and volunteer help for Lights, Camera, Dresses -- a one-day, affordable prom shopping experience March 8 during the Bridal Showcase 2009 at Winthrop University's McBryde Hall.
"We thought it'd be a neat way to help people save money, and it's a fundraiser at the same time for the Boys & Girls Clubs," said Karen Blankenship, director of the organization. "People want to help during this time, and many times, they don't know what to do. This is a neat way to get creative."
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Blankenship said teens have been hit by the economic downturn, too. "When we talk with our teens, we know that part-time jobs are getting really limited due to the job market," she said.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will support the organization's after-school and summer programs, which lost $75,000 in state funding last year.
The organization -- which served 569 children and youths in York County last year -- has been concentrating on raising money from the community with a series of small targeted events, Blankenship said. It has a $536,000 budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30.
In response to the state budget cuts, the organization closed its Emmett Scott Center after-school site in December and merged it with another site at Northside Recreation Center. It operates two other sites, at The Connection on S.C. 5 in Rock Hill and at the Banks Street Center in Fort Mill.
Blankenship said the organization needs dresses in good condition that are appropriate for proms -- they should be cleaned before they're donated -- and accessories such as shoes, purses or jewelry.
The dresses will be sold for $15 to $45 during the Bridal Expo. Bridal Showcase 2009 sponsors D. Kirby Smith and Gregory's Formal Wear have supported the Boys & Girls Club effort by offering discounted prom picture packages and discounted tuxedo rentals for guys bound for the prom.
WANT TO HELP?
—What: Lights, Camera, Dresses, a one-day affordable prom shopping experience, 1 to 4 p.m. March 8, in conjunction with the Bridal Showcase 2009 at Winthrop University's McBryde Hall. Event admission is $5. Dresses will be priced from $15 to $45, with proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County.
—Donations: Prom attire -- including bridesmaid, cocktail or formal gowns -- and matching shoes, purses and accessories, clean and in good condition, can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday of this week at the Rock Hill Family Resource Center, 410 E. Black St., downtown Rock Hill.
—Volunteers: Help is needed before the event to sort the dresses by size and price them. Volunteers also are needed from 1 to 4 p.m. March 8 to staff the prom dress sales booth.
—Details: Call 803-324-7920, e-mail admin@bgcyc, or visit www.bgcyc.org.