Education

85 disadvantaged LAUSD high school girls get royal treatment for prom

File: Students pose for pictures at a gathering before they travel on a bus to the school prom on July 1, 2011 in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
File: Students pose for pictures at a gathering before they travel on a bus to the school prom on July 1, 2011 in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
Bethany Clarke/Getty Images
File: Students pose for pictures at a gathering before they travel on a bus to the school prom on July 1, 2011 in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
Maricruz shows off the black prom gown she selected on Prom Day sponsored by Operation School Bell.
Courtesy of Monica Carazo
File: Students pose for pictures at a gathering before they travel on a bus to the school prom on July 1, 2011 in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
Sally from John F. Kennedy High School gets her hair done on prom day during her prom day makeover.
Courtesy of Monica Carazo
File: Students pose for pictures at a gathering before they travel on a bus to the school prom on July 1, 2011 in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
Veronica attends Marquez High School and tries on a violet gown on Prom Day sponsored by Operation School Bell.
Courtesy of Monica Carazo


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.

Gettin' all dolled up

"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.

Prom Day! 

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.