Hundreds of local teens received free prom dresses

PHILADELPHIA - April 1, 2014

It is the Cozen PAL Center Prom Boutique.

"I love it! "It's beautiful. I feel beautiful," said one student.

And feeling beautiful is what this Prom Boutique is all about.

More than 200 teenagers were treated to a night of shopping for their dream dress for prom.

"I like all the diamonds and the glitter," said another student.

Rows and rows of gowns to choose from, and it was all free.

The event is organized by Cozen O'Connor, Archbishop Carroll High School and PAL of Philadelphia.

"We are constantly selecting and collecting dresses, and then we get a lot of donations whether its racks hangers and support," said Linda Wert.

The girls are all part of PAL's mentoring program. This dressy affair is a way to reward students like Autumn Jennings for being in the program.

"A dress like this, you feel comfortable when you wear it; you don't want to take it off," said Autumn Jennings.

"It's a self-esteem building event, but our programs on a regular basis really builds character, and they support safety as well," said Chase Trimmer.

It all started years ago when one young lady almost didn't go to her prom because she couldn't afford this dress. This program steps in to help those teens.

"Everyone here who volunteers has just brought something new to it. Every year the same volunteers come back because volunteers see how it is important to the kids," said Nancy Rounbehler, Cozen O'Connor.

Not only is the dress free, but the teens get to pick earrings, nail polish even shoes.

They also learn makeup tips to make their prom night a night to remember.

"It is a once in a life time experience that everyone should get to do," said another student.

The organization collects dresses year round and many of them were brand new. Over 1,000 dresses were collected this year.

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