Prom Bring It! Brung It! For Virginia’s High School Seniors

May 21, 2012 by

Jenny High (PBI!,), Lamont Bagby (Henrico School Board Member), and Norrisa Draper (PBI!)

Less than eight months ago, Hermitage High School mother, Jenny High, had a vision to help the seniors at her son’s school by making sure that, if they wanted to go to their prom, they had the prom wear to do so.   While High is already an active and vital member of the school’s PTSA Board, as the Scholarship Chair, she felt that there was more that she could do for the students before they graduated.

Jenny shared her vision with Hermitage’s Principal, Omega Wilson, as well as the PTSA , and several members of the Henrico County community at large.  The concept that was birthed out of a desire to help a “few” seniors catapulted into a enormous community outreach that span numerous schools outside of Henrico County, as well as various cities throughout Virginia that span from Northern Virginia to as far south as Petersburg and Danville.  The effort was so successful that the team agreed to expand outside of the Hermitage PTSA, and create a non-profit organization for PROM BRING IT! to enable the outreach efforts to expand and reach even more youth.

Through her visionary leadership, High and her team garnered the full support and dedication of over fifty local businesses, faith-based organizations, elected officials, as well as the media and other local community-based groups. The community support involved everyone from several local cleaners that volunteered to clean gently used prom wear at no cost, to local and state elected officials like State Senator Donald McEachin and Delegate Joe Morrissey, donating funds to ensure that no young man that wanted to rent a tuxedo, would be excluded. PROM BRING IT! is one of the first organizations in Virginia to offer prom wear services to both male and female prom goers.

From day one, the Henrico community has rallied behind this effort to make one of the most monumental events in a senior’s life a reality when many of them felt as though it could not be due to numerous obstacles, including financial.

Beginning on March 31, 2012, PROM BRING IT! BRUNG IT! for over 500 young women and over 300 young men, who took advantage of the discounted tuxedo rentals from Men’s Warehouse in Glen Allen, VA, a  major sponsor of the event.  The day of the “Clothing Extravaganza,” which was hosted by Virginia Center Commons, excitement was in the air as mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, neighbors, and others brought their seniors in, in groups at times, to choose prom gowns, shoes, purses, jewelry, and other accessories that were the latest fashions, and upwards of hundreds of dollars..  all for free!  Students were also given gift certificates for free hair cuts, tanning sessions, and meals.

The PROM BRING IT! event also included a customized prom wear fashion show from Macy’s, one of the event’s sponsors, in addition to make-up, hair, and other services… all provided at no cost to any senior that walked through the door.   The PROM BRING IT! frenzy was so prevalent in the air that it took flight to cyberspace, where numerous high school students began tweeting, sending email blasts, texting, and posting on Facebook in order to spread the word so that their friends would not missed this priceless opportunity.

PROM BRING IT!’s success and impact has continued to grow as an increasing number of parents, students, educators, community outreach groups, politicians, and businesses spread the word.   While the major clothing giveaway ended in March, Jenny and PROM BRING IT!’s services continue to be in high demand throughout Virginia. In addition, prom wear, along with other types of formal wear, continue to be donated by individuals of all ages and sizes.

PROM BRING IT! was also recently recognized when DONATEMYDRESS.ORG honored them with the “Purple Dress Award” along with a cash prize to further the outreach efforts of the organization.  DONATEMYDRESS.ORG encourages young ladies to donate their prom wear so that others can take advantage of it.   The prestigious  “Purple Dress Award,”  sponsored by Always, was presented to only five organizations nationwide in the cities of Chicago, IL., New York, NY.,  Costa Mesa, CA, West Linn, OR., and Richmond, VA.   This is the first known “Purple Dress” award that has even been given to an organization like Prom Bring It! in Virginia. DONATEMYDRESS.ORG is also part of CosmoGirl.com, MisQuinceMag.com, seventeen.com, and teenmag.com, who have over 2.5 visitors to their media sites monthly.

With such enormous success for the first annual PROM BRING IT! event, one may think that Ms. High is resting on her laurels, which would be a very wrong assumption.  PROM BRING IT!’s sponsors and team are already planning for next year’s event in addition to securing a permanent rent-free location for the outreach effort to allow for constant access to the much needed services for all young people throughout the year.

What began as a simple idea of wanting to help a few young people by one passionate, dedicated, and driven mother, resulted in life-changing dreams coming true for hundreds of young people and their families throughout Virginia, proving that not only can one person make a difference, but that one person can be a catalyst for change that is contagious for hundreds throughout our communities.

Read more about PROM BRING IT! and LIKE us on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/PROM.BRING.IT

Read more about DONATEMYDRESS.ORG and find out how you can help at:
“The Purple Dress Awards” at: http://www.donatemydress.org/2012-purple-dress.html

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