Local prom boutique provides dresses, accessories without worries of cost

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Prom season is here, but between the dress, the shoes, the jewelry -- the costs add up.

There's one place where teenagers can shop -- and it doesn't cost them a dime!

“When I saw the dresses, they were beautiful, and I found one that I like,” said Autumn Dupree, who shopped at the Prom Boutique on Thursday.

Teenage girls in the life skills program in certain Kansas City, Kansas, schools came to the Woods Chapel Methodist Church in Lee’s Summit to get what they need at the prom boutique for their big dance in April.

“I'm getting a dress for the Job Olympics dance,” said Katrina Hamill, who also shopped the boutique.

“Job Olympics is like going to the Special Olympics, but they practice jobs, they'll wrap silverware, wipe tables, fold T-shirts, and that's one week, and then the following week they have a dance,” said Dorothea Bradley, one of the special education teachers for the group, “Like a prom night, but for our special population.”

Bradley says it's often hard for some families to afford to attend a big event, but this boutique helps change that.

“It allows them to feel special and great, get pampered and look nice for a special occasion,” Bradley added.

This is the prom boutique's 12th year, but it’s getting bigger each time -- now it's a five-day event requiring more than 250 volunteers.

“It has evolved in to people not only donating dresses, but they donate shoes, purses, jewelry, and undergarments,” said Judy Holmes, one of the prom dress coordinators.

Holmes says every item is donated and everything is free; including alterations.

“We say what’s your favorite color, and we help them pick it out... and we don't have to worry about the pricing,” says Dorothy Page, another special education teacher, “Usually when you go shopping you have to say go to the sale rack, or you have a budget, but here you don't have a budget.”

Page says they get really excited because the dresses are all different colors and sizes, plus accessories!

“Some clip on earrings and one bracelet,” said Hamill about the jewelry she got.

“A bracelet, I got shoes and earrings,” added Dupree about accessories she picked.

Some girls say the selection was even better than expected.

“Even more fancier dresses,” said Bailey Moore, who also shopped the boutique on Thursday.

“It’s like being Cinderella for the evening,” added Page.

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