Dallas Library Project Offers Free Prom Dresses to Teens

Sometimes fairy tale dreams really do come true.

Apr 2, 2019

Local libraries really are amazing places. You can take out books that let your imagination soar or DVDs to watch at home. You can attend lectures, book reviews and even musical entertainment. You can use the free computers offered to write a resume and help you find a job, or a potential mate if your heart is so inclined.

And in Dallas, Texas, at the local library, you can get free formal prom dresses, shoes and all the accessories you need sans the pumpkin coach to get you to the prom.

The administrators at the Dallas public library know how expensive it is to go to the prom. The dresses alone can run hundreds of dollars and adding in the shoes, accessories, tickets and transportation, the cost could go much higher. That's why they decided to do something about it for the local students.

They started the Fairy Tale Project in 2014 with donated items from local residents, charities, and businesses to give the girls their dream dresses for free.

“Prom is an expensive rite of passage,”  Youth Services Administrator Melissa Dease told NBC News. “We started the Fairy Tale Closet to help every teen feel like a princess, regardless of their family’s economic need.”

Every year, around this time, the high school students  and their moms come to the event and try on dresses, find shoes and for some, it is the first-time in their lives that they get to dress up. This year, Tamora Phinisee, 18, of Dallas was one of the students who found her perfect prom dress.

"Really, we could not afford a real new dress that I wanted, so to be able to have it free – it's nice. It's a good opportunity," Phinisee told NBC. "Because then I get to pay for the important stuff I need and then when I graduate [to use] for college,I will still have money.”

Another student told Inspire, “For people who don’t have opportunities to get dresses on their own, something like this is really, really amazing because there are some beautiful dresses here that I would have never expected to be here. But yet, they’re here and they’re for free and it’s awesome.”

Fairy Tale closet is more than just providing the clothing for the students, the library  staff hopes that it will also boost the self-confidence of the participants. This year, the library added a gender-inclusive component for LGBTQ teens to make them feel comfortable in the safe space.

This is clearly one public library that has stepped-up to fully serve its community and give a once in a lifetime opportunity for young women to feel like they are part of a fairy tale, happy ending and all.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.