Many high school girls in Dallas, Texas, are feeling a bit relieved right now as the Dallas Public Library hosts the Fairy Tale Closet event for the sixth year in a row. This event allows graduating students the opportunity to come to the library and receive a free prom dress instead of breaking their own bank for the big end-of-the-year event.
Attending a high school prom can be a pretty lofty expense for teenagers, particularly when it comes to buying the perfect dress for the occasion. A 2015 survey conducted by Visa found that the average cost of attending prom in the US comes in at about $920, which includes such expenses as the price of renting a limousine for the evening, buying the actual ticket to prom, and of course, the dress.
Thankfully, this Dallas library is making many girls' lives much easier by taking that dress cost out of the equation entirely.
According to CBS DFW, this event has been running on donations only since 2014. Because of those donations, hundreds of free prom dresses have been handed out to local students. The dresses, whose original price tags ranged from $200 to $400, have helped stop these graduating students from spending money on prom and instead, save that money for college.
Besides the prom dresses available at the Fairy Tale Closet event, the students can also come and look for shoes and accessories to make them sparkle and shine bright on their big night. To help them get the look they desire, each student is given a personal shopper while in the library.
The Fairy Tale Closet is expanding their reach this school year, as they are also putting on an LGBTQ-focused event this upcoming weekend. Melissa Dease, the library’s Communications and Youth Services Administrator, admitted she was a little nervous about being able to find enough dresses for two events, but the worries were for nothing.
“I was a little nervous we wouldn’t collect enough dresses for two events, but I’ve been blown away by the generosity of people in Dallas," she told CBS DFW. "Instead of not enough dresses, I don’t have enough racks to hold them.”
The event is all about helping these students find the confidence they need to have a wonderful time at the prom. It also allows the Dallas Public Library to gain a rather special relationship with these students who come in for the event.
For these students that attended the Fairy Tale Closet, the library is now considered a safe space for them. Dease hopes these young girls see the other benefits for the facility also come and use the library to expand their academic and personal resources.
"The Fairy Tale Closet is a way for the library to engage with teenagers and build a relationship among high school students," Dease said. "This encourages teens to take advantage of the library’s resources and to see the library as a welcoming, safe space in their community.”
All of the dresses provided for this event are either new or gently-used and are given away free of charge. This is all made possible because of generous donations from local organizations like Neiman Marcus and St. Luke Community United Methodist Church.
When all is said and done, hundreds of dresses will be handed out, free of charge, and these students will be able to focus on saving for the next step in life: college!