Grads given the gift of a gown

Program assists students who cannot afford the costs of going to prom

  • Mar. 31, 2013 7:00 a.m.
Simone Maassen (front)

Simone Maassen (front)

With the graduation season approaching, Talia’s Closet is looking for assistance to help get students to prom.

Talia’s Closet, a program operated by the Youth Resource Centre (YRC) and Abbotsford Community Services (ACS), collects dresses and tuxedos from donors in the community and then provides the outfits to grads who don’t have the financial resources or family to purchase their graduation outfit.

The program is looking for donations of dresses, jewelry, clutches and shoes. The YRC will be setting up a space at the Sevenoaks Shopping Centre from April 5 to April 14 near the food court. They will collect clothing donations, but are also looking for community members to donate their time to do make-up or hair during the graduation season.

“We are getting lots of calls already from grads to come and look at dresses that we have,” said Tally Clement, a street outreach worker in the YRC. “But we need more and newer outfits. Dresses donated three years ago might be out of style this year and for girls, it is so important to fit in, to look right.”

Talia’s Closet has relied on the generosity of donations, not only for the students, but for the space that they have operated out of since starting the program three years ago.

The program previously occupied an unrented spot in Sevenoaks, used for collecting donations and as a preparation area for volunteers such as seamstresses, hairdresser and photographers. The space was free of charge, but they had to move when the space was rented. The group appealed to the community for a new operating space, and was taken in by Raleigh’s clothing store on Essendene Avenue. Now, a space in Sevenoaks has reopened and Talia’s Closet is moving back in.

“People have been really generous with dresses and people have been really generous with space,” said Simone Maassen, supervisor at the ACS. She said the program will also accept financial contributions, which would provide more freedom to the cover extra costs of operation.

The program was started by Linda Hamilton, with just 12 dresses. It has since grown to about 100 gowns, in a variety of sizes.

The program is free, and the organization works with local high school counsellors to find students who need the service.

For more information, contact Simone Maassen at the YRC, 604-859-7681 ext. 258, or Linda Anderson at 778-878-5129.