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Students Play Dress Up

Parent Holds Dress Drive for Local Teens

During prom season, Lainyi Kniffin is used to dressing her three sons in tuxedos. This year, she’s busy dressing a handful of Dominion High School girls.

While Kniffin was driving to the Sterling school one day, she heard a Reston Community Center commercial, calling for prom dress donations to help dress Reston-area teens.

"I thought it was a great idea," Kniffin said. "To make everybody look like princesses."

Reston Community Center media specialist Cindy Fortuno witnessed a great turnout at their prom dress drive, this year.

"We had over 500 girls come through here," Fortuno said.

The event, Diva Central, is open to all high-school students in Reston. The event began in 2002 and is designed for woman who can’t afford outfits for their senior proms, Fortuno said.

AFTER LISTENING to the commercial, Kniffin visited the Reston Community Center at Hunter Woods.

"I got a lot of great ideas from Reston’s program," she said. "I brought them back to Dominion."

With the help of Dominion High School teacher Amy Burns and parent liaison Duke Butkovich, Kniffin started collecting dresses and soliciting donations for "Prom Dreams 2006."

"Prom Dreams 2006" is a program Kniffin started give every girl at Dominion High School an opportunity to buy a prom dress.

"We let girls from Dominion High School choose their dresses first," Kniffin said. "Now, anyone can come to the school and look at the dresses."

Area businesses like Nordstom, Nordstrom Rack and Kohls Department Store, and Reston Community Center donated dresses.

Kniffin received approximately 100 dresses in different shapes, colors and sizes.

Hairport and Venus hair salons and Fair Oaks Skin Care Center donated door prizes for opening night, to be used on prom day.

IN APRIL, several Dominion High School students went to school to go dress shopping.

Teenage girls gathered at the school to thumb through and try on dresses.

"The girls would come out in dresses and everyone would comment and clap," Kniffin said. "It was a lot of fun."

A local seamstress was on hand at the school, to make alterations.

"We had women right on the spot, hemming dresses, making adjustments, hand stitching," Kniffin said. "Everyone was working together to make the dresses fit."

Butkovich recalled one student’s experience.

"We had a girl walk out here with a hair appointment, a dress, a door prize," she said. "She was flying so high."

Prom Dreams 2006 would have been impossible without community members and businesses.

"The businesses were incredible," Butkovich said. "They made all the difference."

Next year, Kniffin hopes to get more people involved in the prom dress drive.

"I want the whole community to come and benefit," Kniffin said. "We could team up to make it so much more."

Kniffin also hopes to get tuxedo rental donations.

"We can’t forget about the boys," she said.

Dominion High School’s prom will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Reston Saturday, May 6.