The Long Island Volunteer Center, again working in conjunction with Nassau Community College marketing and fashion students, is collecting new and gently used prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses and accessories, including costume jewelry, dressy shoes and evening bags, for the 18th annual prom boutique.
The event, now in its 13th year, has grown from about 35 donated dresses in the first year to thousands of dresses donated.
"Contributions to the prom gown donation drive do more than create new memories for old gowns, they celebrate the accomplishments of young women who have stayed in school, worked hard to get their diplomas and now will be able to attend their graduation event. They have earned this," Diana O'Neill, executive director, Long Island Volunteer Center, said.
O'Neill, a Garden City resident, Garden City resident said the idea came about from hearing of a mother at a parish outreach program in Roosevelt saddened by her inability to afford a prom dress for her young daughter.
"We, as a community, are able to say: 'Well done, enjoy this moment, be proud of what you have achieved, this is our gift to recognize you.' Parents, teachers, guidance counselors and social workers tell us that these girls, who are confidentially referred to the invitation-only distribution events, would not be able to attend their prom or graduation celebration without the intervention of this community initiative. How can anyone not be moved by the idea of helping create a memory-marker that a young woman will carry and be inspired by throughout her life?" O'Neill said.
The following is a list of collection sites that will be accepting donations:
During regular store hours until Sunday, April 22
- FreePeople, Roosevelt Field Mall
- A. T. Stewart Exchange Consignment Shop, The Garden City Historical Society Museum, 109 Eleventh Street, Garden City
Sunday, April 15, 1-3 p.m.
- Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church (Community Room), 53 Prospect Road, Centerport
Saturday, April 21, all day
- Clear Skin Salon, 537 Hempstead Tpk., West Hempstead
Sunday, April 22, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- St. Anthony's High School, Villanova Alumni Association, 275 Wolf Hill Road, South Huntington
Sunday, April 22, 1-3 p.m.
- Grace Lutheran Church, 1294 Bellmore Ave., North Bellmore
- Junior League of Long Island Thrift Shop, 1395 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn
- Lucky Finds Boutique, 7 North Park Ave., Rockville Centre
- nuBest Salon, 1482 Northern Blvd., Manhasset
- Somerset Gardens Senior Living, 150 Sunnyside Blvd., Plainview
- St. John's Episcopal Church, 1670 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor
- St. Paul's Lutheran Church (back door), 309 Patchogue Road, Port Jefferson Station
- Temple Beth Am, 2377 Merrick Ave., Merrick
- Westy Self Storage, 2400 Marcus Ave., Lake Success
- YES Community Counseling Center, 75 Grand Ave., Massapequa
All dresses and accessories will be distributed free of charge to girls of families across Long Island who cannot easily absorb the expense of a new gown.
In 2011, more than 1,300 girls from 65 different schools and nonprofit youth organizations across Long Island benefited from the event, which was created in 1999 to improve the quality of life for all Long Islanders.
For more information, contact the Long Island Volunteer Center at 516-564-5482 or visit www.longislandvolunteercenter.org.