Prom season is here, which means the annual charity event providing boys and girls in foster care with new formal ware, shoes and accessories is here, too, taking place today.
For over 10 years, Glamour Gowns has served more than 5,000 teenage girls in the foster care system, providing them with formal gowns, shoes and accessories for their prom or other formal event – all at no cost.
Last year, for the first time, young men in the foster care system also received new suits, shirts, ties and shoes. This year’s Glamour Gowns and Suit Up event will service even more young men and women, giving them the formal attire to look and feel confident both socially, and professionally
The Glamour Gowns and Suit Up Event, which is organized by a dedicated volunteer committee working in conjunction with CASA of Los Angeles, pairs each foster youth with an adult volunteer who, as their “personal shopper” for the day, helps them choose their attire. Giving suggestions when asked, and bringing alternate sizes and styles to the dressing room, these volunteers encourage and collaborate with each youth to put together their unique ensemble for their special day.
Many of the youth are deeply touched by the amount of care and attention they receive as evidenced by their thank you notes.
This year’s event will take place today at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
There are 30,000 children under the jurisdiction of the dependency court in Los Angeles County, including more than 18,000 who live in foster care.
Financial circumstances often do not allow for “non-essential” yet important items like prom dresses or suits for formal dances and similar events. The Glamour Gowns and Suit Up Event seeks to create lasting, positive memories for milestone events like these in the lives of young people who have often endured and overcome difficult circumstances.
“For many youth in the Los Angeles foster system, this event provides a unique opportunity to dress to impress,” said Dr. Anissa McNeil, Glamour Gowns 2016 Chair, “But even more than the attire the event provides, the simple fact that there are people who care enough about these kids to donate their time and their effort to giving them an unforgettable experience makes a huge impact. We also help set the stage for an amazing prom, formal event or job interview.”
A team of seamstresses and tailors volunteer for the day to help each young person achieve the proper fit. Hair stylists and make-up artists add their expertise with demonstrations to help these youth complete their look for their special evening.
Partners such as women’s shoe manufacturer and longtime sponsor, Chinese Laundry, the philanthropic organization SHARE, INC., Masquerade formal wear, Jenette Bras and others sponsor the event.
For Young People in Foster Care
Pre-Registration is required for all foster youth who wish to participate. Foster youth must register with their name and the name of their DCFS Child Social Worker. Each youth will be assigned a specific appointment time. Go to casala.org/glamour-gowns. Only high-school aged youth ages 15 and older in foster care residing in Los Angeles County are eligible to participate. Reservations must be made by April 8th.
Volunteers on Saturday, April 9 will be assisting the foster youth to select their attire or with other duties that will be needed. On Sunday, April 10, volunteers will be tearing down and cleaning the room. Go to casala.org/glamour-gowns for more information about volunteering at Glamour Gowns and to sign up for a volunteer shift.