Yesterday I was invited to Square One Shopping Centre’s #SQ1Prom event. For those of you who did not get a chance to check out my IG stories yesterday, head on over to @shopsquareone’s Instagram page right now! They’re currently running a giveaway towards a $2000 gift card you don’t want to miss out on. You can find the full terms & conditions on their IG page.
Although running around the mall and playing dress up with other local bloggers was so much fun, having that privilege of going into a mall and picking out an outfit isn’t the reality for a lot of students. Of course prom can be a super exciting time, but it can also be a financially stressful time for some students. As a teacher, it would be a disservice if I didn’t recognize the pressures that come with celebrating prom. It’s really important to me that I do everything I can to make sure all students, especially students from lower SES, have a great prom night too.
There are a number of organizations that will be working twice as hard in the next few months trying to collect prom outfits for students. If you have a dress (or suit!!!!) sitting in your closet, this is the perfect time to give back. With the help of some of my friends, I have put together a list of organizations taking donations at this time. If you know of any places that I haven’t mentioned below, please please leave a comment below (or message me privately if you prefer) so I can add them to this list! I'll also be doing a few drop offs myself, so if you want me to come by and take your donations in for you, I will be more than happy to do so!
New Circles Community Services
New Circles Community Services is a not-for profit, grass-roots agency that is busy doing some really amazing things. They have a New Circles GLOW program, that is currently running a prom program specifically for youth who are from low-income households who'll be graduating this year. This boutique is open to students across Toronto. A referral form must be completed, which can be found here. There are a number of different programs available, so be sure to check out their website and help get the word out. You can also find specific donation requirements on their site!
You can find their 2017 prom boutique donation drop-off locations below:
The Corsage Project
The Corsage Project is a non-profit program that works in partnership with the Children's Aid Foundation. The program is extra special because they host a Boutique Ball for women and men of all ages to help celebrate their achievements. The driving factor behind The Corsage project, is that "no student should be denied the opportunity to celebrate the achievement of high school graduation because of cost". During the Boutique Ball, an event space is transformed and students are provided with a personal shopper to help find their prom look! They have the opportunity of looking through new dresses, suits, accessories, purses, pashminas and also get treated to a mini-makeover! An entire day is made out of this, and they get to leave with an entire outfit for prom. My friend attended this event during her own high school years, and shared how positive the experience was for her!
The closing date for referrals is March 31st. If you have no donations to make at this time, you can always volunteer your time at the Boutique Ball held on April 23, 2017! For more info about volunteering with The Corsage Project, click here.
Inside the Dream
Inside The Dream is another organization that provides free formal wear for students who need the extra financial support. Teachers, guidance counsellors, and social workers aren't the only ones that are able to make referrals here. They urgently need some specific items, so please check out their donation page here. Inside The Dream has also listed a few other organizations similar to theirs and have organized the list by provinces. If you're not located in the Greater Toronto Area, definitely browse through this page.
Current donation drop-off locations for Inside The Dream can be found here:
There are so many organizations out there that'll be working tirelessly in the next few months. Although I could write a blurb for each one, and all the amazing things that they're doing, where you go, and what you donate will completely depend on you. The bottom line is, students need help. If we can find ways to donate whats in our own closets to make their nights that much more memorable, we should do just that!
Again, if you know of any additional organizations that are worth looking into, please leave a comment below.
Lots of love,
A 24 year old Canadian living (& teaching) in Shenzhen, China.