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Project Prom provides free formalwear to students who take pledge not to drink on prom night

Prom Dress
Posted at 10:12 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 04:49:38-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — Prom is one of the biggest nights in a young girl’s life. Like many high schoolers, Brianna Castano can’t wait to go.

“I think it’s really exciting, especially being a student who has spent most of her high school in COVID. This is the first time my school is offering a sort of dance. So, I finally get to experience that for the first time,” said Brianna Castano.

The cost of attending prom in 2022 is anywhere between $150 to $2,000.

“You have the ticket, the dress, the shoes, the jewelry, nails, maybe even hair, makeup, dinner beforehand. It all adds up,” Castano said.

UthMpact’s Project Prom Store inside Lakeland Square Mall allows Polk County students like Brianna, to pick out the perfect gown, suit, and accessories at no cost.

“Students are given the experience of a bridal boutique. They come with their families, and they can try on as many dresses as they want,” said Sam McCain, UthImpact Assistant Executive Director.

There’s one catch. Before students can go home with free formalwear, they have to sign a pledge.

“To stay away from drugs, alcohol, and other risky behaviors that can happen on the night of prom,” McCain said.

There are only two more student shopping days left for the Project Prom Store. They are Saturdays March 26 and April 9 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. To get free prom attire students must be from Polk County and have their student ID.

The program accepts donations all year round. “We are looking for plus size dresses 16+ and then the really small dresses 0 to 3. For menswear we are in need of some smaller sizes, 20s to 32s,” McCain said.

Donations can be dropped off at the Project Prom store at Lakeland Square Mall in the former Sears store. Or you can take them to the InnerAct Alliance and UthMpact’s offices at 621 S. Florida Ave. in Lakeland.