Project Prom is in Amber Hart’s blood. It was started twelve years ago by her mother, Angela Brule, when Hart was thirteen. Since her mother moved to Fruitvale and last year’s organizer, Lexie Ast, became involved in other projects, Hart has taken on Project Prom. She is ready and able to make a difference in the lives of high school graduates.
“The whole thing was really my mom wanting to make prom more affordable. She had seen how many people stressed over dresses, alterations, dry cleaning and services,” says Hart.
What’s more, in an effort to save someone’s prom, Brule salvaged many a dress purchased for cheap online and glued together. “She’s amazing like that with what she can do to remake those dresses,” says Hart.
Plenty of Hart’s own friends utilized her mother’s services at Project Prom.
“The goal is that everyone who might not be able to afford to purchase a dress, can have an awesome dress that they love. We want everyone to feel they can be a part of prom and not be left out because of a dress.”
Over the years, that has morphed into ensuring the young men in town also have stylish and well fitted clothing.
“We actually really need donations of men’s suits and separates,” says Hart.
Items that are stylish and in good condition are accepted, though for every fantastic dress, Hart is left with bags of aged and unusable gowns.
“We are really looking for current fashion,” she explains. “As much as you might have loved your dress from the 70’s or 80’s, it likely isn’t what the girls are looking for this year. But consignment is a great option for those dresses, because then they have a chance to go to people who want them for their needs.”
It really all comes back to the Project Prom’s goals of inclusion. No one wants their dress to be an obvious donation.
Hart has been impressed with the generosity of several donations this year. “We’ve had some stunning dresses come in. Dresses that likely cost hundreds of dollars a year or two ago.”
Donations of dresses, menswear, jewellery and shoes are welcome all year round.
On Saturday, April 6th at the Community Centre, Hart will be there, ready for grads.
“We will have racks of dresses,” she says. There will be long dresses, short dresses and everything in between, in a huge range of sizes.
What’s more, her mother is coming in for the day, as is local Stacey Brensrud. They will be on hand to do minor alterations, with Brensrud taking home dresses that need a little extra work. Roberta Cameron from Roberta’s Tanning will be on hand with a certain number of manicure appointments set aside for those who might need one.
Hart stresses that everyone headed to prom is welcome. “No one should feel like they aren’t eligible. We get everyone, exchange students, girls who wanted to get their own but couldn’t save enough, girls whose families can’t afford it. Don’t feel like you aren’t welcome. It’s confidential. Half the dresses we don’t remember who they have come from,” she says.
Donations are still being readily accepted. Two piece dresses; a crop top and ballgown skirt, are in style and highly sought after. What’s more, Hart has 30 boxes that will need to be transferred, set up and taken down. Volunteers willing to help with alterations are also welcome.
With Prom only a few weeks away, Hart is ready.