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Church, NYPD, ruffles in prom dress, shoes, purses for teens

By Sadef Ali Kully

The NYPD joined Highland Church members to put together a charity prom dress event for young women in Jamaica Saturday at the Fellowship Hall on 162nd Street.

The event, where 50-60 young ladies arrived ready to shop, included donated prom dresses, glittery purses on a table and matching heels as well as hair stylists, manicurists, personal stylists and a costume jewelry booth.

“First it was about the dresses and now it has become much more than that. It has become about making these girls feel beautiful,” said Pamela Damon, who started Prom Impact two years ago. The group collects prom dresses for at-risk young women in junior and/or high school.

The idea came after Highland Church, located on 160-20 Highland Ave in Jamaica, held debutante events and had left-over dresses but no one to wear them.

“It started off with helping 10 girls and then we got the NYPD and Community Affairs involved. Thanks to them, it has grown immensely,” Damon said.

About 60 girls attended Saturday’s prom dress affair.

The neighborhood precincts, the 113th and 107th, made announcements during community council meetings and collected dresses at their precincts.

“It was hard work from every angle, between collecting dresses and the 2,000 emails we sent out,” said Damon.

The prom dresses, shoes, and accessories came in every shape, size and color imaginable. Every time a young woman found her prom dress, a crowd would gather around her, clapping and cheering, with the song “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys blaring in the background.

“Some of these girls are at-risk, some are homeless, some are abused, but there some who are your everyday girl – just looking for a prom dress,” said Damon.

Along with beauty booths set up to address the needs of a young lady attending prom, there were other booths to explain prom etiquette, personal health, relationship advice and catwalk tutorials for the prom entrance.

There was also a “take a selfie with a cop” booth where young women gathered with police officers and took pictures to celebrate their new dresses and their new look.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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