Tifton Gazette

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February 14, 2011

Girls offered a chance to obtain free help with prom

TIFTON — Young girls who are searching for that perfect dress for prom but cannot afford one have an opportunity to pick out a free prom dress donated by women in the South Georgia area from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 26 and April 2 at The Gin on Brumby Way.

Michele Bassett, marketing and sales representative of Tifton’s Courtyard by Marriott, is behind this fundraiser. She said this is her third year doing the prom dress fundraiser and it all started with a closet full of prom dresses and dresses from weddings she attended.

“I had so many dresses and I was moving from one place to another,” Bassett said. “I decided to look into ways that I could donate them. I started putting the information on Facebook and I asked some friends if they had any old prom dresses to donate. The response was overwhelming.”

Bassett said that next year, she made it a project for the Tifton Junior Woman’s Club when she joined. She said for the past two years, the fundraiser has gone very well. The first year, more than 95 dresses were collected and a good amount was collected the second year as well.

“That was just through Facebook,” Bassett said. “By using the media this time, we’re hoping to collect more. Our goal is to collect at least 200 dresses.”

Bassett stated the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott will be collecting donated dresses up until Feb. 28. She noted that they have collected 20 dresses so far since last week. People are continuing to donate, Bassett said.

Bassett said two of her friends, Lexi Spradley and Erin Parker, are assisting her with the fundraiser. She said they chose The Gin as “The Prom Shop” because of the available space for girls to try on dresses.

“We’re going to turn it into a boutique,” Bassett said. “There will be “Girl-Work-It” volunteers helping the girls while they look.”

Bassett said this year she wants to take the fundraiser a step further by offering the girls a chance to get their hair and makeup done for free. She noted that she’s a licensed cosmetologist and her friend Allison Braswell who works with Estee Lauder in Albany will help.

“This is our first year offering this,” Bassett stated. “This is our way of being more hands-on with the fundraiser.”

Bassett stated that a questionnaire will be presented to the girls who come to the boutique on March 26 and April 2 to help determine if someone is wanting a free dress for the wrong reasons. She said this usually isn’t an issue.

“We will use our better judgment to determine who actually needs a free dress and who doesn’t,” Bassett said.

Bassett noted that they are working with schools’ guidance counselors. She said the counselors are informing some girls who are in need of a prom dress about the fundraiser.

For more information on donating, contact Bassett at 392-8671.

To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.

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