LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Between the racks of sparkles and sequin dresses is a message.
And the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas hopes the girls wearing their Project Prom dresses will take it with them to the dance.
Rows and rows of amazing gowns that will make any girl feel beautiful on one of the biggest nights of high school.
For four years ADAC has been providing free prom dresses to girls who may not be able to afford them otherwise.
"The community has been very generous with donations," said Kim Simmons, ADAC Intervention Coordinator. "The dresses that we have are new, some of them are brand new with tags. Some have been gently used. Some that have been used that might have a small stain or rip or tear, we've got cleaners on board, someone to do alterations so even if we have a dress that needs some attention we have a way to fix it."
The ADAC prom project makes it like a real shopping experience for girls where they can roam through all the racks choose a dress that they like, try it on, have it altered and leave here with a full prom outfit from head to toe.
But it's more than about the dress, ADAC uses Project Prom as a prevention tool and a platform for education.
"Prom unfortunately can be a dangerous time. We see a lot of violence. There's fights and different things that occur. There's drinking and after prom parties that occur and so what we're trying to get girls to do is have a plan. We want them to have a plan before they go to prom. What do I do if I"am in a violent situation? What do I do if I'm at an after prom activity and there is alcohol or other drugs there? Because what we're finding and what statistics are telling us is if they wait until they're in that decision, in that situation to make that decision then it's too late. Then their thought process is not as good as it could be if they had already had a plan in place prior to the event," said Simmons.
"This project is completely free to the girls," said Simmons. "It's not a project that generates any revenue for ADAC we just do it to get the education piece out."
The project provided almost 200 girls with dresses, accessories and prom plans to have a fun and safe prom night.
Simmons said, "Most of the girls that come in are very surprised I think a lot of times when people think they're getting something for free they think that it's going to be sub par or it's not going to be the quality that they want."
Any girl who wants a prom dress can participate in the program, it doesn't have to be a low economic situation.
"We have helped girls that don't have a mother in the household who want the experience of having girls help them to find a dress and we also find that a lot of this generation are more thrifty and do not want to go and spend a thousand dollars on prom between a dress, hair, makeup, shoes and all the accessories so we've had some come in and say I just don't want to spend the money so our goal is to get these dresses on to girls that are willing to come in and hear the education piece and have a fun night at prom," said Simmons.
ADAC counselors say their main goal is dressing girls with education about alcohol and drug abuse.
ADAC is still taking dress donations for this season and welcome more dresses after prom is over to use for next year.
You can drop off dress donations at the ADAC office at 304 N. Raguet (8-5, M-F)
If you'd like to find a prom dress contact, Kim Simmons at 936-634-5837 ext 221