Choosing a prom dress is a tough decision that millions of high school students face each year. But for families with financial limitations, the choice can be particularly stressful.
Thanks to “Operation School Bell: Prom Day,” run by the Assistance League of Los Angeles, low-income and homeless LA Unified School District students got completely outfitted for their senior prom, free of charge.
“I was really really excited. Me and my family, this means a lot to us. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was 10 years old,” said student Jasmine Abercrombie. “Just hearing there’s an opportunity like this for low income families, I’m just really happy to be here.”
It’s that enthusiasm that drives organizers and volunteers who walk the girls through the selection process.
This year they were able to greatly expand the program, helping 200 students compared to 87 last year.
Abercrombie was grateful to be able to choose a dress without worrying about the financial implications for her mom.
“I really didn’t want her worrying about paying for a dress so I was trying to get a job so I could do it myself,” she said. “But when this came up I was like, ‘yay, thank God, I can go and I’ll look gorgeous.'”
After selecting a dress, she moved on to shoes, purses and jewelry to complete the outfit.
“Most of these girls would never go and one girl just said to me ‘I get earrings too?’ ‘Yeah, hon.’ ‘Can I keep it?,'”said Linda Levine of the Assistance League of Los Angeles. “They keep everything and we hope they pay it forward.”
For Abercrombie, choosing her outfit was an unforgettable experience.
“I feel like I’m Cinderella, turned into everything that she is and was, it’s amazing,” she said.