Sunday, February 8, 2009

Something Worn, & Never Worn Again? Do Something BIG!

Time to reminisce a bit! It is the time just before the beginning of spring. You are a junior or senior in high school. Oh what a special time that is. The girls are giddy, the boys are silly. But one thing is beginning to take over EVERYONE'S mind. PROM! Who will ask me? Who will I take? and the BIGGG question of all----WHAT AM I GONNA WEAR? Remember those times? For some of us, that seems like a lifetime ago--wait 29 years IS a lifetime ago! But for others it isn't that long ago.
OK ladies it is time to start cleaning out those closets--spring is coming and the idea of spring cleaning is starting to fill the air. Am I right? How many of you have formals sitting in your closets that have been worn once (maybe twice) and will NEVER be worn again? How many of you have sisters, nieces, daughters, etc. that will never wear those formals again? Oh and let's not forget the men--do they have suits that just hang there waiting for another wedding or funeral to arrive--only to find out the suit doesn't fit anymore? I have a solution to this problem for you.
I went to Maddie Dean Photography this morning and Sara had received this most wonderful letter from one of my fellow teachers in the northern part of the state. I am ashamed that I did not know anything about this plea for help--and I live here in Mississippi. This is the email that Sara received (with contact information removed due to security reasons).
My name is Suzette Matthews and I recently graduated from Texas Tech University and moved to the Mississippi Delta in an effort to help poverty stricken schools with Teach for America. For those of you who are not familiar with TFA, it is a program for "recent college graduates of all majors and career interests and working professionals to commit two years to teach in urban and rural our highest-poverty communities" (
Upon moving to the Delta, I have experienced a number of unimaginable challenges in the classroom and outside of it. My students are exceptionally poor and very much behind academically and socially. Although my students suffer horrible injustices everyday, I feel as if they should have somewhat of a normal high school education, academically and in extra-curriculars. With this being said, my students would like to put on a prom this year and have been saving their money to have the best prom in high school history.
This is a great feat for them, since their families do not have money to buy them clothes to wear to school, much less for prom. The school district has been kind enough to give the Junior class money to host the prom, but by no means is it going to make ends meet. The girls cannot afford dresses and the boys cannot afford tuxes. I know that what a person wears to prom shouldn't really matter, but when you think back to your own high school days, you would have been mortified if you did not have a dress to wear to prom, only your school uniform.
I am forever grateful that I grew up in the community that I did and never had to worry about this. I know that after I wore my dresses once, I never wore them again; they just hung in my closet. So, with help from surrounding communities and you, I know that I can find enough dresses for my students to have the prom they've always dreamt of.
What I am asking is that you look through your daughter's old formal dresses and perhaps yours and donate them to the students at Ruleville Central High School. This would be a great donation for a tax write-off and would also help you get a jump start on your spring cleaning. If you can participate in anyway possible it would mean the world to my students. The deadline to donate will be 2/25 (Wednesday).
We plan to have a fun bazaar for the girls and help them choose a wonderful dress.I would also like to thank all of you who donated books and money for my classroom. We now have a great lending library that I run right out of my classroom. I know that these books are making a difference for my students.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Suzette Matthews
Now ladies, I remember when my daughter was a senior. Hurricane Katrina had just come through and wiped out the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We were uncertain if our children would graduate that year as we had to be out of school for so long. But the worries of our children weren't just about graduation. They were worried about what they would wear to PROM! 95% of the students along the coast had lost most everything they owned. We were doing good to get children (and adults) into clothes that were acceptable for wear for school. Many of the students who used to have after school jobs didn't--the places they worked were gone. How were the families along the coast going to be able to find and pay for (remember the adults lost their jobs and businesses too) a prom dress or tuxedo or suit? The wonderful nation we call ours--the good ol' US of A and its giving citizens came to the rescue. Truck loads of formals donated across the nation were brought into the schools for our girls to choose from. The girls had a blast going through the dresses, finding the "perfect" one for their special night. My daughter didn't lose all she had--but we also did not have the means to purchase her a dress that year. She was one of the lucky recipients of one of those formals. I can't begin to tell you how happy she was that night--wearing a dress that was donated by someone else--so that she could attend her senior prom.
So come on ladies, go through the closets of formals you have left over from your years of proms or debutante balls or even those of you that have had to attend military balls. If you have formals that no longer fit and you're kidding yourself that you can get back into them one day--or even have a need for them again--leave a comment here for Suzette. I will be sure that she gets the message and tells you how to get these things to these children that want to be like every other junior and senior in the nation--and go to prom.


Ingrid said...

Hi Shelly,
Thanks so much for posting over on my blog! I added yours to my blogroll so I can become a frequent visitor. I love your block for the quilt swap and can't wait to see the blocks all together.
Also, I love the idea for the prom dresses. I'll have to dig around and see if I can come up with my old one. I have a bridesmaid's dress in my closet right now that I wouldn't mind giving away, but I still have to wear it in May.

Barb said...

It is a wonderful thing you are doing. I have no daughters and I have moved so much that my old clothes are who knows are so wonderful to do this.

Sonja said...

Please let me know how to help. I know I have formals that I will never fit back into again. And I would love to give it to someone who needs it.
ps Thanks Shelly for you kind words on mine and my sisters blog. Your very sweet.

Courtney said...

Sorry I totally missed your comment about the crib! My sister had to tell me about it! :)

She actually just announced that she may have a need for a crib in a few months! :)

So, I am going to save it for her instead of selling it! Thank you though!

Congrats on the new grandbabies on the way!

Mama Krit said...

What a fabulous post! Would you think less of me if I told you I teared up a bit? :)
I will definitely have to look up in my attic and see if I still have any of my old dresses. I think I got rid of them last year, but kept going back and forth whether I should or not, so now I'm not even sure... I know how absent minded can you be, right?
I will let you know if I find any. Thanks for posting this! People like you are few and far between.

Cassie J said...

What an awesome way to give back! I have already purged all my formals to the local Goodwill store, but will spread this to my friends. Also I may try to go by the Goodwill or Salvation Army and see what I can find and send.