Janay McGowan, a senior at Paramount High School, piled 15 dresses on her personal shopper while she vigorously flipped through the racks.
She said she was looking for long and bright dresses as she added another dress to her pile.
About 150 high school senior girls from low income families in Orange County eagerly waited in line to get prodded, primped and beautified at The Methodist Church in Fullerton on Saturday.
YWCA’s Prom Project is an event that was created five years ago to help girls attend their prom by providing a dress and accessories, and teaching them how to do their hair and makeup.
Diane Masseth-Jones, executive director at YWCA, said about five years ago the organization noticed girls in Orange County did not have enough money to enjoy their special night.
“We organized the prom experience and give them formals, so they can go to prom with pride, dignity and self confidence,” said Masseth-Jones.
Eunice Chu, a board member at YWCA, said every year the event gets more publicity. The first year of the project, the girls got to choose formal dresses that were all donated from the community.
This year the event had several sponsors including Agaci, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, students from Marinello’s Beauty school in Anaheim, a professional makeup artist, a seamstress and other companies in Fullerton.
Dresses are donated by girls from all areas, both in state and out of state.
Chu said the best part of the program is seeing the girls’ parents cry when they see their daughter in their prom dress.
Jamie Ang Lee’s father waited patiently outside the church. Meanwhile, Ang Lee, a senior at Western High School, found a strapless gold dress that she will wear to her prom next weekend.
Ang Lee said she is excited to attend prom next weekend; it will be the first dance she will attend with a date.
Ang Lee went from one booth to the next, getting her hair done, finding the right shoes, learning how to do her makeup and getting professional pictures taken. Ang Lee found out about this program last summer through a friend and applied right away.
She said she has been to dances before but has never been treated like a princess by people who actually care.
The volunteers at Project Prom said they love to hear back from girls who were touched by the program and hear how their prom went.
The YWCA is dedicated to empowering women and always needs volunteers and formal dress donations are welcome. If interested, call the YWCA at (714) 871-4488.