Teens get prom dresses for free | News
BELMONT, Mich. (WZZM) -- Some West Michigan teens will get dressed to the nines this weekend as prom season officially kicks off. Those hoping to keep the cost of prom from skyrocketing will appreciate a new program at the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA in Belmont.
"I wanted one that fit me and I just could not find one. So, I came here and found one I liked," said Tiffany Wass, a high school freshman about her search for a homecoming dress.
Wass discovered this year what many of us already know. With all different dances, proms, and other formal occasions, the money spent on dresses can really add up quick.
"I've seen people who had like $300 dress at homecoming," she said.
And that is modest compared to what is spent on the biggest dance of them all. A recent study shows families with teenagers are expected to spend, on average, nearly $1,100 on prom. The dress is often by far the biggest expense. Some formal dresses are going for as much as $400 to $600 dollars in stores.
"We were shopping online, my daughter and I, and we saw some that were $600 for a formal dress," said Toni Szczepanski, volunteer coordinator for the YMCA. "It is very expensive. I think kids these days have a lot of choices in the dress they can buy."
Now, some of those choices are free. The Belmont YMCA has a prom dress program where young ladies can rent a formal dress at no cost.
"The bottom line is if you don't have the funds or even if you have the funds but that is not where you want your funds to go, then this is a good option. This isn't just for people who can't afford it but people who don't want to spend that money on a dress you wear once," said Szczepanski.
She says the started the program last year but getting the word out has been slow going. People have donated more than 100 dresses in a variety of styles and sizes. Szczepanski says they have a little something for everyone.
We have every thing from an extra, extra small to a size 22. So we have a wide range," she said. "The styles we have everything from strapless to full sleeve. We have velvet ones. We have ones that are very summer and springy looking. The styles are current and put to date and a few of them still have the tags on them."
Like most teens, Tiffany Waas had her heart set on a new dress at first.
I was a little 'iffy on it, but once I saw them I thought those are really beautiful," she said.
But she says she is happy with her final decision to "rent" one and is looking forward to the time she gets to look for the perfect prom dress.
To schedule an appointment to try on a dress contact the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA at (616) 363-3000 or Toni Szczepanaski directly at (616) 855-1451.
They are also accepting donations for dresses, dress racks and dry cleaning. The YMCA is located at 6555 Jupiter Avenue in Belmont.