TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Homecoming and prom are both rites of passage for most high school girls. But a harsh reality for some teenagers is that a gorgeous gown is out of reach.
“The dress makes prom! It’s really all about your gown. I didn’t even go to homecoming my senior year because I was like ‘this is too much,'” said Jadejha Edwards.
Edwards, who was considered an unaccompanied homeless youth, tells 8 On Your Side she was, however, able to make her senior prom because of the non-profit organization, Belle of the Ball Project.
“No girl should be deprived her high school dance because of financial difficulties,” said Simone Mestanza with the Belle of the Ball Project.
Since 2003, the Clearwater boutique has given away over 6,700 donated dresses and accessories to high school girls in need.
“They think that they are getting a hand-me-down dress but when they walk into the boutique, they realize that this is just an amazing shopping experience,” said Mestanza.
The Belle of the Ball Project is providing free homecoming dresses to high school girls in need on four upcoming Saturdays: Sept. 7 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 12.
The organization’s boutique, located at 1210 Holt Avenue in Clearwater, will be open from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. those days.
Dresses are available to all in-need high school girls for high school dances only. The organization says it respects the honor system and does not require a referral letter. No appointment is needed.
A $1 to $5 donation is requested but is not required.
The charity also accepts year-round donations of dresses and accessories.
For more information, you can call (727) 386-4502 or visit the organization’s website.
“It’s an experience. What girl doesn’t want to get dolled up and look glamorous for a day?” said Edwards.