News and Tribune

March 16, 2014

One less expense for prom in Clark County

Prom Aid gives dresses and suits to students

By JEROD CLAPP
jerod.clapp@newsandtribune.com

CHARLESTOWN — Abby Inman had plenty of other expenses to worry about for prom. Between shoes, a manicure, a hair appointment and tickets, it didn’t take long for the dollars to add up.

Then there was the dress. She wasn’t worried about that, though. Abby’s dress was free from Prom Aid.

“They’re older and no one’s going to have the same dress as you,” said Inman, a junior at Hamilton High School. “If you go into a lot of the shops in my area, the dresses almost look the same. This way, you’re going to get something different.”

The Clark County 4-H Junior Leaders hosted their seventh annual Prom Aid on Saturday and Sunday at the Clark County 4-H Fairgrounds. Gently used dresses and suits were given to high schoolers getting ready for their spring milestone.

With prom dresses ranging from $85 to more than $400 in some department stores, dropping a couple of Hamiltons isn’t an option for some girls and their families. Inman said though she lives 60 miles away, it was worth the drive for a free dress.

Nora Abbott, the adult sponsor for the Junior Leaders, said the group had about 300 dresses available this year. Once they’re donated to the group, they’re stored for free at Storage Station in Sellersburg and dry-cleaned by Nu Yale Cleaners.

She said though low-income families are part of their audience, the event is open to all students.

“We want everyone, whether you’re here because you can’t afford a dress or because you’re an environmentalist and into recycling,” Abbott said. “We’re trying to get more kids down here to swap.”

She said some girls who have gone to prom from one year to the next come in, drop off their dress and pick another one off the racks. Some of the dresses they get are donated elsewhere and others with damage or stains are destroyed.

Some students get help from their parents with the expenses associated with prom, but Abbott said it’s a good idea for working students to check out Prom Aid.

“Even for the kids with their own jobs, they still have to budget,” Abbott said. “Prom tickets are $50 in some schools and that’s a big chunk of money.”

Jeff Caudill, a senior at New Washington High School, waited patiently for his date to try on several dresses. But in the meantime, he was able to find a suit coat he wanted to incorporate into the special night’s wardrobe.

“Last year, I spent $150 on my tux,” Caudill said. “I like what I got, it should be easy to match up with something else.”

He said his parents are helping him pay his way into prom, but with the savings on a tuxedo, he’s hoping to make dinner something much fancier than last year’s trip to Olive Garden.

Abbott said the group accepts dresses all year. To schedule a drop off at the Clark County 4-H Fairgrounds, call the 4-H Extension Office at 812-256-4591.