A TJ senior has set up a way for prom dresses to be more accessible to the TJ community.
Prom is right around the corner and the end of the year rituals are coming fast. Prom dresses and accessories are in high demand and they aren’t cheap. Most quality prom dresses are upwards of at least 50 to 60 dollars. Affording everything can be daunting, and realistically, not all people will be able to afford these beautiful gowns and accessories. Most people who don’t have something to wear won’t even consider attending the event. A student from TJ had a goal to make all seniors feel comfortable attending the final dance of high school.
Senior Jocelyn Diaz felt compelled to help those in need of a prom dress and started a donation process for prom apparel. To get the word out, she posted on the neighbor app Next Door, and urged all those who had old prom dresses to donate them to current TJ seniors. To her surprise, several people began to respond. Diaz estimates that a total of 20 to 30 dresses were donated. Diaz and her mom picked up all the dresses and coordinated times at TJ for people to go see the dresses, which was held right after school in room 111 from April 5th to the 7th.
An idea that began in the Leadership class at TJ, has created an opportunity for Seniors to access a dress on prom night. Diaz’s hopes were to collect as many dresses as possible to give everyone who needed one, a dress free of cost. Diaz believes that feeling good on prom night is important; prom is a right of passage for TJ seniors and it should be a time everyone gets to enjoy without worry. Diaz highlights this and describes that her ultimate outcome is that, “Whoever feels like they can’t go [to prom] because they don’t have a dress, should be able to come,” Diaz commented. For her, prom and the end of year is an exciting time and participating is something that Diaz wanted to accomplish for everyone.
After her post on Next Door, a whole community rallied behind Diaz and has offered to help in any way they can. Many people were eager to help out, and one woman even offered to do free hairstyles for people on prom day. Some donors even went as far as to ask for pictures of people wearing their dresses. Goods and services are all being donated and there is a lot of positivity coming from this drive, just as Diaz hoped.
It didn’t stop with dresses, though. Diaz began to collect suits and tuxedos for students as well. People were giving away all sorts of dress attire and she took a lot of it. After two days of after school shopping, she gave out about five dresses. Now that the shop is over, Diaz is planning to donate the leftover dresses or give them to the theater for future plays. For her, coordinating this event on top of all the other events of her senior year proved to be stressful; despite this she accomplished a lot. Between posting on Next Door, coordinating pickup times, and setting up shop, she should be proud of her vision and follow-through. Diaz gave a resource for all of TJ and it has changed the future for accessibility to outfits for TJ prom.
After reflecting, Diaz says she wishes she got the word out better. She was prepared in every other aspect, she just didn’t advertise her drive so no one was very informed about it. She felt that her largest challenge was coordinating everything and along the way she forgot to market her drive to TJ. Overall, Diaz and her idea brought the community together and hopefully started a new TJ tradition. For future occasions, Diaz hopes to have someone take over this drive in order to make these outfits available to everyone for years to come.