More than 200 low-income and academically high-achieving students were chosen to be part of an event held by the cable television channel TLC’s “Say Yes to the Prom” event at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Students from Leto, Spoto, Brandon, Chamberlain, and Middleton high schools were treated to free prom dresses, makeovers, mentoring and shopping for formal wear.
The event had a number of volunteers assisting local high school students with their prom needs. Students from the Paul Mitchell School in Tampa provided hair and makeup consultations, while AT&T workers volunteered their time and assisted students with choosing jewelry and shoes.
“Today we’re here with over 2,000 dresses for these young deserving students and whole collection of men’s suiting, this was started seven years ago in our global headquarters - south side of Washington, D.C. - we’re doing a six-city tour and we are here getting everybody ready for prom,” said Monte Durham, Fashion Director for the show, "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta."
“When we initially started the prom event seven years ago I spearheaded it because I grew up economically challenged, I grew up in a very poor, rural community so I know what it’s like to struggle to afford and or attend social events; it is very important and very dear to me that we bring this message to all and these deserving students get rewarded for their hard work,” Durham explained.
Jasmine Holmes, a senior at Brandon high school, said, “It was an amazing opportunity that I could never pass up and I couldn’t get a dress like this on my own, I was having a really hard time trying to find an affordable dress that I liked and this all just makes it so much easier.”
“Our message here today is the empowerment and to continue moving forward with their education also to inspire them to continue and the outreach program hopefully will be returned to others," Durham added.
“It allows me to see my options in a way different way, it condenses it to 2,000 dresses because I could go online and I don’t really know how it fits or what it looks good with; here they have everything for you, you can try on makeup, do the hair and the whole process here so you don’t have to do in on your own," said Zadia Corriette, a senior at Brandon High School.
Over 20 AT&T workers volunteered on site to assist in makeovers, helping pick out shoes and accessories.
“I think we all have to leave our mark and I think in society we are responsible to do that,” said Milagros Montoute, Director of Sales at AT&T. “We are constantly looking for those opportunities to leave our mark in this society and our community and we want to do it with authenticity; we want to make it real, authentic, and genuine.”