Kindness can turn an ordinary day into one that captures the happily-ever-after feeling of a Disney movie.
Reston Community Center played Fairy Godmother over the weekend, giving hundreds of girls their Cinderella moment. More than 200 teens flocked to the center’s Lake Anne location for free prom dresses, jewelry and shoes during Saturday’s 12th annual Diva Central Prom Dress Giveaway.
“They could have saved upwards of $500, and that doesn’t even take into account the possibility of winning one of many restaurant gift certificates,” said Director of Teen Programs Kenny Burrowes.
In just a few months, the community center - in conjunction with the Reston Chamber of Commerce and a high school chapter of Delta Sigma Theta - gathered 500 prom dresses and matching accessories to give away from noon until 6 p.m.
Other than attending high school, there was no prerequisite to get a free outfit. Teens of any income background just needed to stop by the community center during the hours of the event to take advantage of the racks of dresses and rows of heels. Dresses left at the end of the event were trucked to other prom dress drives.
“We made it open to anyone, because it’s hard to say, ‘You deserve it, but you don’t,’” said Burrowes. “This is a program that can help both lower income family homes and affluent family homes. It’s the best thing because everyone can enjoy it.”
He said some teens donate the dresses they got the previous year. Others get a new one every year.
With prom just around the corner, many girls were hoping to find a last minute dress before their big night. Herndon High School junior Casey Molina, 17, ended up choosing a strappy floor-length lilac ball gown from the event.
“It’s my first prom, so I wanted a long, elegant dress, but I didn’t want it to be over-the-top,” she said.
She learned about the event through a friend.
“My dad and stepmom are definitely going to be happy they’re saving money,” she said.
Tiara Jones, 17, a North Stafford High School senior, also found a dress at the event - a short kimono-inspired frock. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta, her involvement with the event was much more personal, however.
“For a lot of people, it’s a blessing to get a dress for prom,” she said “Through the sorority, we learn about self-confidence and loving yourself.”
Tiara said the event is a chance to go out on a Saturday with friends for a makeover moment. She spent most of the day playing stylist for girls before looking for her own outfit. When she heard anyone complain that they could not find a dress to suit their style, she made it her mission to prove they were wrong.
“Once I pick out the dress, they end up taking it home,” she said.