On March 29 the Paterson Great Falls Rotary ClubTAPinto hosted their annual prom dress giveaway. This year they joined with several other groups, making the event bigger than ever. TAPinto Paterson reader, and Great Falls Rotary Club Director, Debra Flower shared this piece abut how the event started, what it’s become, and where it’s going.
Paterson Great Falls Rotary Club started a collection of prom dress and formal attire in 2011. Each year after, and until 2017, these dresses were collected and delivered to Eastside High School where they were distributed to anyone who was attending the prom and wanted a dress. They were also given to those in the ROTC for their winter formal and other formal events through the school.
In 2017, Sandra Galvan and myself were contacted by twin sisters Ashley and Sam Dinerman of Closter, who were at the time Freshmen, to offer their assistance to our event through the Change4Good Foundation they started. The girls, we learned, had seen a Facebook post by Rotary member Sheryl Adamoff and wanted to get involved.
It was always a dream of mine to expand the distribution to actually have a venue where we could personally distribute the dresses and perhaps shoes, purses, gift certificates for hair and nail salons, etc. Now more then ever with the girls involved I felt that this would be more achievable. However I did not know what school I could approach that would be able to host such an event.
I think of it as a Rotary miracle, at approximately the same time Claire Salviano of the Paterson Rotary Club gave me a call saying she would like to have a prom event, however did not want to duplicate our club’s efforts and supply dresses to the same school that we serviced. Through that telephone conversation we decided to combine our efforts. Claire was familiar with Passaic County Technical Institute, a vocational public high school located in Wayne servicing students in 9th through 12th grades from all of Passaic County, made some phone calls, received school approval and scheduled a date.
We collaborated with Change4Good and hosted a prom event for all Senior girls to come and pick out a dress. We also had some shoes, purses and jewelry. Sam and Ashley provided gift certificates, makeup kits and several other items which were raffled off to the lucky winners. They also contacted a manufacturer who supplied them with 50 brand new prom dresses. We had close to 200 dresses and had approximately 75 students in attendance. We were all elated and felt it was a huge success. We left and said next year it will be bigger and better.
Off the successful event in 2017, we started planning this year’s early! For the 2018 event we started early, and on March 29, the Great Falls Rotary Club, the Paterson Rotary Club, Change4Good, and new partners the Maywood Rotary Club, Soroptomist, Kreating Kindness, Sisters Bridals and the Passaic County Board of Realtors, as well as friends and family, we exceeded expectations!
We were able to expand the distribution of items to not only prom dresses but formal attire to be worn to the Senior breakfast, awards assemblies, and the many other events that the students attend during their Senior year. Instead of 100 plus dresses we had over 400 dresses which were either new or slightly worn. We also added tables of shoes, purses, makeup and jewelry. The Dinerman twins, friends and family prepared swag bags filled with makeup kits, headphones and a journal which were raffled off. Christina of Sisters Bridals steamed the dresses for those who requested and placed in bags. We also added a tuxedo which some nice gentleman took home. There were over 150 in attendance. Light refreshments were available to the volunteers and guests.
Next year we are planning to add suits and tuxedos for the young men and hope to increase attendance even further. We will have additional items available and of course a raffle. There is no charge to attend and no fee for any of the items.
Did your local organization host a special event you want to tell the TAPinto Paterson community about? Email us, we’d love to hear more!