A fairy-tale wish came true Thursday for dozens of disadvantaged high school girls: They had the opportunity to handpick their prom ensemble for free.
Made possible by the Assistance League of Los Angeles' collaboration with the L.A. Unified School District, Operation School Bell dressed 85 homeless and low-income girls from head to toe in prom outfits on Thursday. From donated dresses to shoes and makeup, the girls were treated like queens from the moment they walked into the pop-up shop at Emerson College L.A., according to LAUSD spokeswoman Monica Carazo.
"Operation School Bell does a wonderful job of getting these donations throughout the year, and they're beautiful high-end, high-quality dresses," Carazo told KPCC. "I know last year they even had some dresses that were worn at the Academy Award shows."
Carazo said that when the girls walked in, they were assigned a personal image consultant who helped them weigh important options: glitter, short, long, slit, no-slit, lace, ruffles, etc. Then they went on to select jewelry, shoes and accessories. Volunteer tailors did dress fittings, and they were treated to makeovers complete with hair and makeup.
The girls chosen to participate in the program are selected by their high school counselor, with their GPA and attendance as deciding factors, Carazo said. She said the program has clothed hundreds of girls for prom over the past five years, and each year gets bigger.
In addition to putting girls in dresses for prom, Operation School Bell works to provide new school clothes, play clothes, shoes, backpacks, hygiene products, books and school supplies to K-5 school kids, according to an LAUSD press release.
To donate gently-used items for LAUSD students, visit the Assistance League L.A. website.