Community college collecting gowns for 'Prom Dress Extravaganza'

AVONDALE, Ariz. (FOX 10) - Giving the gift of a magical prom night for a teenager in need, Estrella Mountain Community College staffer Rachel Holmes started the "Prom Dress Extravaganza" last year.

Because it was a great success, she says this year on March 2, she expects the turnout to be even greater.

"My students collect donations and put on this beautiful event for the high school seniors and they facilitate it, they run it," she said. "They do everything."

A well-organized "free" shopping experience for a high school girl deserving of a night as the "Belle of the Ball," Rachel, her students and several volunteers roll out the red carpet to fit the teens from head-to-toe for the perfect prom look.

"In three weeks we've collected about 200 dresses, shoes, accessories. We partnered with NAU and ASU and they helped us in getting food and snacks," she said. "We really just want them to feel special when they come in. Their high school counselors on the front end and let them know we have this available and do they want to participate."

Aside from Rachel and her students giving teen girls this opportunity for "free," she says...

"I think it's kind of hard to believe they get to shop for free. I think that's the first thing. How many dresses? We get it for free, right? Do we need to bring it back?" she said. "They go from coming in in jeans and a T-shirt to feeling like a Disney princess."

While also teaching a different lesson.

"This teaches my students so much more than academics," she said. "It's looking at the whole student. It's helping them emotionally, socially and academically."

Rachel Holmes - Estrella Mountain Community College