ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- It’s the one night in a teen’s foreseeable future that most every girl looks forward to: prom.
While it is indeed a night to remember, selecting the dress, matching the shoes, primping the hair and coordinating the makeup are all almost bigger than the event itself.
“Prom is like your wedding before your wedding,” says Nikole Shurn-Perkins, owner of NV Showroom Boutique in downtown St. Louis. Perkins is also the organizer of the Fairy Glam Prom Expo, an event that provided gently used prom dresses free of charge to local girls in need. It also opened its doors to the public, allowing girls looking for a bargain to snag a dress for as little as $10 and no more than $30.
The expo was held on Sunday, March 27 at the Girls Inc. location in Northwoods, Mo.
See photos from the 2011 Fairy Glam Prom Expo by clicking here
Seventeen-year-old Keonna Battle was one of the young ladies hand picked to receive a dress at the expo. The Soldan International Studies High School senior says money is tight in her family right now, and a free prom dress would relieve some financial stress so that her parents could put away money toward her college education.
Keonna’s mother, Yolande Smith, says that while she works unabatedly to bring in an income, it doesn’t always go as far as she’d like, and that living paycheck to paycheck is no fun, so having the option to receive a dress at no charge alleviates some of the pressures associated with preparing for prom.
“Free is always a good thing,” says Keonna’s mother, Yolande Smith. “This is helping me out tremendously because I do have a 6-year-old as well and times are a little hard with the basic bills and the economy.”
Other mothers at the event expressed a similar sentiment. Dawn Ruehl of Kirkwood shopped alongside her 18-year-old daughter, Kelsey Cross, in hopes of helping her find a good deal on a dress for prom on May 14.
“I recently took a pay cut to keep my job,” says Ruehl. While Ruehl says her husband works and that helps to keep the family afloat financially, things can still get a little tight. “We have two 18-year-olds in the house,” says Ruehl, who along with her husband took in a friend of Kelsey’s. “We’re taking care of him because his parents essentially abandoned him,” Ruehl says. “We told him, ‘you’re our son, we love you and we’re going to take care of you.’”
Economics seemed to be the common thread that tied together those who came out to the event. But even standing face-to-face with financial hardship, mothers like Smith still want to make sure their daughters don’t miss out on this rite of passage and look back with disappointment. “I didn’t attend prom myself, so it’s going to be exciting to see her go,” she says.
And this is exactly why the Fairly Glam Prom Expo exists. “I wanted to help less fortunate girls be able to go to prom, because you never want to look back on your life and have regrets,” says Shurn-Perkins.
To learn how you can volunteer or donate dresses for next year’s event, contact Nikole Shurn-Perkins through NV Showroom Boutique at 314-932-5382.
Emerald Morrow is a writer and Web producer at KMOV-TV. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.