Siouxland organization provides free prom dresses for high schoolers

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — It’s a right of passage for high school girls to find the perfect prom dress, and one organization in Sioux Center is helping ease the financial burden of this big event.

It’s a night full of memories that will last a lifetime.

“This will be our first time going to prom. I think she was going to go last year, but COVID kind of canceled that,” said junior high school students Jacolyn Ballard and Evy Schoup.

Like many high school girls Ballard and Schoup are on the hunt for the perfect prom dress.

“Just really cool coming here and being able to get a free dress because not everyone can afford a dress for prom, so it’s cool just come out and try on all the dresses like that,” said Ballard and Schoup.

From tickets to the dress, accessories to hair, the average prom can cost up to $900. However, Operation Prom aims to alleviate that stress.

“Even though it’s just a dress, it’s not just a dress. It’s a big deal to let them come in and even the barriers between prom, and it can be so expensive, and we want to make that something any girl who desires to go to prom can do,” said Kayla Van De Berg, the coordinator of Operation Prom.

Van De Berg says the event also strives to give young girls a sense of empowerment.

“It’s about making them feel loved and just valued as a person. So, when they walk through the door, we want them to feel comfortable and make it a fun experience,” said Van De Berg.

“For me, self-esteem has been an issue for a long time. So, a lot of the time sitting there and seeing myself in this dress, I feel pretty. I feel like I’m able to walk into the gym and not feel humiliated, and it’s kind of a big thing for me,” said Schoup.

Forty girls throughout the Siouxland area walked away with a dress and accessories for their class dance, but it’s not possible without generous donations.

“It takes a lot of people to run to get the donations, but yeah, I just hope that we can continue to bless girls in our community,” said Van De Berg.

For donation details email or visit Operation Proms Facebook page.

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