Dita Gennodie began her quest earlier this month to collect prom dresses. In less than two weeks, the owner of BBR Salon in New City already received 24 donated dresses and gowns toward her goal of getting 100 before March 30.
“You wouldn’t believe people donate two or three dresses,” she said. “We collected some accessories, some shawls.”
The Pomona resident said finding a donated prom dress, jewelry and handbag can mean the difference between attending the prom and having to pass it up. She hopes between her clients and word of mouth that she can help high school seniors realize their dreams of going to the prom with style. Last year’s average prom cost reached above $1,000, an out of reach price tag for many families still struggling with a tight economy.
Gennodie is seeking donations of evening and formal dresses less than five years old in good condition that can be worn by girls between the ages of 16 and 18 along with jewelry, hair accessories and evening bags. Anyone who brings in a dress gets a certificate for $20 off a hair or makeup appointment. If a girl brings in 10 donated dresses, she will get her hair and makeup done for free for her prom day.
Gennodie contacted numerous high schools, East Ramapo, Clarkstown South, Albertus Magnus, to give them the details of her free prom dress program so they could make less fortunate girls aware of the opportunity. Additionally, Gennodie posted the information online and has been handing out flyers to clients and friends to spread the word. Gennodie said the program is open to all eligible girls, with a current, valid ID card from any high school in Rockland.
Her efforts extend beyond collecting the dresses and accessories. She planned three boutique clinics on March 30, March 31 and April 7 for the girls to visit the salon and to pick out gowns, get fitted and select accessories. She already teamed up with Toma, a Nyack seamstress who is volunteering to tailor the dresses for the girls. Gennodie hopes to partner with some other businesses to help with storing the dresses, right now she is keeping most of them at her house, and to provide dry cleaning.
Gennodie shared a second reason for organizing the drive. She feels salons are often portrayed in a negative light by the media and she wanted to people to realize that is not accurate. She wanted to do something positive.
“Since we’re in the beauty business it would be great to extend that feeling to someone who might be having a difficult time right now,” she explained.
Gennodie, who has owned BBR for eight years, has big plans for the prom program.
“I would love to have this every year,” she said.
BBR at 163 South Main Street is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. with evening hours on Thursday and Friday until 7 p.m. For more information, contact Dita Gennodie at 845-634-2505