By JESSIE HORTON
ERATH COUNTY (March 3, 2015) — That perfect dress, the shoes that match just right, the hair and make-up, the jewelry – it’s all a part of the most anticipated night of the year and every high school girl’s dream.
Prom. Feeling like a princess for just a little while. But some don’t get the chance.
Now, Michelle Belgrave and a few others are going above and beyond to make the dream happen for every girl in the area by starting the Stephenville Prom Closet. The project, thought up by Belgrave and brought to life with help from a few friends, has grown into something big, and the group said they’re thrilled at the prospect of helping girls from not only Stephenville, but all around the area.
“I know from experience how hard it can be,” Belgrave said of prom night prep. “I was one of three and my mom, who was a single mother, went out of her way to make sure we had it all, even though we really couldn’t afford it. I just thought we could help some girls in this area who are going through the same thing and make it the wonderful experience my mom helped make it for me.”
The prom closet has been a plan for a while, and other local communities like Granbury and Comanche have similar projects, but the Stephenville Prom Closet is the first of it’s kind in Erath County. And less than a week ago, Belgrave decided to make her plan a reality.
“I’d seen a woman on another Erath County site talking about wanting to donate some jewelry she’d made by hand to girls who couldn’t afford new jewelry for prom and I thought about the dresses I have that someone else could wear,” she recalled. “Then, it just kind of took off from there. I got some friends to donate a few dresses, too. And now we’re here.”
Here is in a small room full of beautiful dresses, shoes, jewelry and more in the annex of a church on Washington Street. After cleaning out her closet and bringing her own dresses, Belgrave said several of her friends had dresses to contribute as well. Another friend said she knew of a place with some space to store the dresses – the First United Methodist Church in Stephenville – and Stephenville Prom Closet was formed.
“We started this last Sunday (Feb. 22) and put up a Facebook page that day,” Belgrave said. “In about a week we went from 30 people to around 500. That was just shocking, I didn’t think that many people would be interested.”
But they are, and just a week in, the first applicant has turned in her sign-up sheet. Belgrave has three women donating their time and services to do hair and make-up for those who sign-up. And she’s slowly filling the actual prom closet with dresses of all colors and sizes.
And not only that, but Belgrave is starting an account on GoFundMe (gofund.me/stephenvillepromcl) so that she can take monetary donations to allow the project to purchase dress sizes they don’t already have. This way, the prom closet project will be able to help every single girl who needs it.
There is a sign-up sheet on the Facebook page for anyone looking for prom or banquet help. The dresses in the prom closet are just borrowed, and all the girls will return them for the next girl. Sign-up sheets for those interested in dresses and for anyone wanting to help with the project are available online at facebook.com/stephenvillepromcloset. For more information on the prom closet or how to get involved, contact Belgrave on the Facebook page, by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 254.485.9745.