AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gigi Edwards Bryant grew up in foster care. As a teen, she dreamt of the perfect prom and dress, but she never got a chance since she moved around a lot.
For the past 16 years, Edwards Bryant has tried instead to help other young girls realize their dream through her non-profit, PROMRack, which collects donated dresses and gives them out free to teens in need.
“We started with children in the foster care system. I use that as an opportunity to take advantage of a rite of passage opportunity that’s missed by children as they’re passed around or moving from home to home,” she said.
For many high schoolers, prom is significant. Often, it may be the last big celebration the teens will have with their friends before moving on to college or work.
Dressing up for prom is usually mandatory and that can make it very expensive.
“We did some research and it’s probably about $1,200 at the minimum, $3,000 if you add transportation,” Edwards Bryant said. “And, you just never should feel like you can’t go anywhere because you don’t have the clothing that you need to get there.”
PROMRack hopes to prevent that. Since 2003, the non-profit has helped empower more than 10,000 girls by helping them find the perfect dress for their big day. And all at no cost to them or their families.
This year, girls will have about 3,000 dresses to choose from sorted in a variety of styles, colors and sizes. A personal shopper will help find exactly what they’re looking for and they can even try them on to make sure they love what they find.
“It’s good to say, we have a style for everyone,” Edwards Bryant said.
But it’s not just dresses. PROMRack also has a wide array of shoes and jewelry.
It’s “more than just a dress” for the more than 3,000 people who volunteer for PROMRack.
If you or someone you know wants to get a free prom dress, PROMRack will have a “Boutique Day” on Saturday between 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Lanier Early College High School at 1201 Payton Gin Road.
- Before the event, girls will have to register here. AISD students can get district transportation on the day of the event and can submit additional information while registering for the event.
- Students need to be in high school with a valid student ID and be between the ages of 14 and 21. Homeschooled students are also welcome.
- On “Boutique Day,” the students have to be accompanied by an adult.
- Girls are encouraged to wear tights or clothing that will allow them to try on dresses over their clothes because dressing rooms are limited.
If you would like to volunteer or donate, you can visit PROMRack’s website.