It’s prom season. Kaneland and the St. Charles high schools will kick things off April 30, while both Batavia and Geneva will hold prom May 14.
While there are countless things to plan, coordinate and do in the lead-up to the big day, the most important decision for most girls in attendance focuses on one thing – the dress.
For Mary Popiel, owner of Special Occasions on the Avenue in Batavia, hers is a job that can require some patience. But, in the end, it’s very satisfying when a girl finds “her” dress.
“It’s written all over her face,” Popiel said. “I love doing prom. It’s fun. When they find the right dress, all the people that work for me love that moment.”
Popiel said she gets girls from almost 50 schools at her shop at 2 N. Batavia Ave. She also will not sell the same dress to another girl from the same school, but that’s usually not a problem.
“Girls are very savvy; they get together in groups and share what they’re going to get,” she said.
But, for some girls, finding the right dress can be tricky when financial situations aren’t great.
For the third year in a row, CHIP IN – Community Helpers Impacting People In Need – Batavia teamed up with Zano Salon & Spa in Batavia to provide free prom dresses to low-income and homeless students who cannot afford to buy a dress on their own. The sale was held in mid-April.
“We do not want the need for groceries, rent or bills to make it impossible to afford prom,” said Melinda Kintz, who co-founded CHIP IN Batavia with Joanne Spitz, in a news release. “Prom remains a ‘rite of passage’ for high school students, and memories of this occasion can last a lifetime. CHIP IN [wants] to make sure they are all good memories.”
This year, the organization gave away about 60 dresses, down from more than 100 in 2015. The group stores most of the unsold dresses and donates older, outdated ones to Goodwill.
The sale was open to any student, with prices ranging between $25 to $50. Those in need were able to visit a school guidance counselor to qualify and receive a coupon for a dress at no cost.
“We did make $500, which will go toward prom costs for students for their prom ticket to the event, and we are helping boys with tuxes, and helping eighth-grade boys with nice outfits for the eighth-grade dinner dance,” Spitz said. “We are also helping with cost of graduation gowns for students in need.”
Spitz wants to make sure the event continues to make an impact.
“We really wanted to help more girls,” Spitz said. “We were told we did this too late – girls get their dresses over a month early, so we will schedule this for late February or early March next year, and are looking for new ideas and venue.”Read more at:Short Bridesmaid Dresses | Vintage Bridesmaid Dresses