Economical prom dress initiative underway at Seaway

Seen in photo above, (from left) members of Project Prom Night: Mackenzie Whyte, Shannon Boomhower, and Trystyn Hummel (absent Sydney Runions). Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Kelsey Smith
Nation Valley News

IROQUOIS — For most teenage girls, Prom night is the highlight of their high school career. The dresses, the hair, makeup, dancing, perhaps even a fancy ride to get you there … but what if you couldn’t afford to buy an extravagant dress or accessories?

Sydney Runions, a former Seaway student, came up with a plan to provide girls with the prom dress of their dreams, without the nightmare cost.

The idea came to her when she “decided to give away my old prom dresses and started thinking I could definitely gather more to donate from friends or girls I’ve gone to school with.”

Runions contacted other Seaway girls, both past and present, to help turn her dream into a reality — then turned over the reins of the initiative due to other commitments.

Mackenzie Whyte (former Seaway graduate), Shannon Boomhower (Grade, 12 student), and Trystyn Hummel (Grade 10, student) are the active members of the “Project Prom Night (PPN) group.

Dress collections only commenced this past Monday, and they have already received more than 20 donated dresses and a handful more of shoes and jewelry. Available to all girls of all schools in the local area, the program is completely confidential and judgement-free. They want to make every girl feel as comfortable as possible.

A selection of dresses that have already been generously donated

Donated shoes and jewelry

Each of the organizers had a different reason for wanting to be a part of the cause, but they all wanted to make a difference and help others in need.

“I loved prom … it was my favourite day and I felt like a princess. I just want that for everyone else,” said Whyte.

Boomhower spoke with other girls from past years, and some did not attend prom because of the expense. They instead chose to “pay for their future schooling.”

“Why should anyone have to choose at all?” queried Boomhower.

Prom is a few years out for Hummel but she likes to help “people out and make them feel happy,” adding she cannot wait for her chance to experience the milestone herself.

The group members hope that PPN will continue for “years to come and add more people” and dresses every year.

Runions later mentioned, “My longterm goal for PPN would be to eradicate the fear some young ladies have around prom due to the expenses it entails. My short term goal would be to reach as many young girls as we can and give them an amazing dress.”

The project will continue through until after prom season. Anyone interested in donating or receiving a dress is encouraged to contact either Shannon at (613) 807-2213 or Mackenzie at (613) 662-5807 or message them on Facebook.

Seaway will be hosting this year’s prom at Winchelsea Farms on June 9.

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