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March 2: High school girls can choose gowns for free at Project Prom

The Junior League of Columbus holds its third annual Project Prom on Saturday, March 2. Girls who want to go to prom but don't have the money to buy a gown can choose from new and gently used formal dresses and accessories at no cost.

The event begins at 8 a.m. and as long as girls arrive before noon they'll be able to choose a dress. The first to arrive are the first to choose.

Project Prom co-chairs Carrie Sigman and Amy Adams are impressed with the huge selection of dresses that have been donated this year. They expect that more than 1,000 dresses will be available when the event begins.

Carrie and Amy say the response from past participants has been wonderful.

"The girls are so grateful," Carrie says.

Girls often arrive with their mothers who are just as appreciative as their daughters.

"We didn't know when we started this that it would actually involve the whole family," Amy says.

Upon finding the perfect dress, many girls want to make sure someone else gets to wear it the next year.

"A lot of them ask when they can bring their dress back to donate it," Amy says.

As girls arrive at Project Prom, they will sign in and be organized into small groups so they can look for dresses and try on their favorites. Before the "shopping" begins, Right from the Start will offer a program aimed at helping high school girls make good decisions when it comes to dating, friendship and life.

"We are going to focus on getting the girls to think about making wise choices in dating. This includes choosing a good date, avoiding dangerous situations, and learning not to rely on or trust someone more than you know him," said Carmen Overton, director of Right from the Start, a program of the Pastoral Institute aimed at building strong marriages and families.

Project Prom started three years ago when a Junior League of Columbus member was inspired by a program in place in another city. After doing some research, The Junior League discovered that the program would be a welcome addition to the Columbus community, too.

Junior League members serve as stylists at the event, helping girls try on their dresses and find a coordinating accessory. Besides dresses, girls can choose one accessory -- a pair of shoes, a piece of jewelry or a bag -- to complete their prom look.

"It's all donations. The dresses, the accessories, even the space," Amy says. "We really want this to be a community project."

Want to help?

"Clean out those closets and donate those fancy shoes you've only worn once," Carrie says. Donate by Feb. 28.

Project Prom

When: 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 2.

Where: 1313 13th Street, Columbus. (in the old AJ's Music store)

Details: For more information, visit and to see some of the available dresses log on to

Support Project Prom: Donations of new and lightly used dresses and shoes in all sizes can be dropped off at any Wade Cleaners location through February 28th.

Note: There's no need to sign up in advance. Girls sign in and are given a number when they arrive and then choose dresses based upon arrival time. The girls who are earliest to arrive have the largest selection from which to choose.