23 year old Serena Ramirez is no stranger to the elegance and expense of a prom for a young lady.
"Prom was really expensive when I was in high school," said Ramirez. "So, I can imagine that it's gotten even more expensive as the time goes."
So, she came up with Belle of the Ball.
"Belle of the Ball is a prom dress drive that helps girls be able to celebrate prom that might not otherwise be able to do that," said Ramirez
Now she is collecting new or gently used formal dresses.
"Bridesmaid dresses. Banquet dresses. Of course prom dresses. Anything that you might feel that somebody would wear to a formal event," Ramirez said.
Serena saw a need for this as she volunteered with her sorority helping some at risk kids. It got her thinking.
"We worked with at risk middle school girls. I think that these girls, who may not have the type of life that merits having things like this, kind of touched me a little bit," Ramirez told us. "So, I like to do things to give back to children. I do a lot of things like that. It was evident to me, that not everybody had the kind of life that I may have necessarily lived, so I am more than happy to give back to people."
Dresses are not all this drive is about.
Here is the way it works. You donate the formal wear. You then pick a high school you want your points to go to. Each item is a point. Area high schools are already racking up points for the grand prize.
Ramirez said, "They get a free prom here at the Wellington. We'll get them a DJ, food and the venue."
In March, Serena will host girls who need a dress so they can enjoy that traditional rite of passage.
"We will have a shopping event," Ramirez said. "They will be able to leave the Wellington with a dress completely free. Depending on how many dresses we get, it will be either a 1-day event or a 2-day event, and we are going to try to schedule dress appointments and dress fittings and sort of what you would do for a bridal party."
This is the first year for this event, and Serena is hoping it will grow in the years to come. It's easy to donate. Just drop off your dresses at the Holiday Inn Express off Kell West. They will be cleaned and stored to help a young lady get to prom that might not have been able to.
What a great idea that is from a young woman looking to make a difference. Newschannel 6 will be checking back in with her to see how things are going in the future.
We want to take this opportunity to send our condolences to all the loved ones and lives who have been touched by one of our past Community Service Champions. Harold Decker was our nominee for April in 2013. He recently passed away. Mr. Decker touched numerous lives at the Bill Bartley YMCA in Wichita Falls. Just about every day for a year and a half, he was there to offer a kind word to anyone who walked in the door. He was a great man, who will always have a place in our hearts and many others across Texoma.