Project will provide necessities for prom

The project is designed to help students focus on the fun of prom night.
SALEM -- A community project is aimed at making a once in a lifetime experience affordable.
Students at the Salem, United and West Branch high schools are collecting used prom dresses and donations for tuxedo rentals for the 2007 proms.
The project has been dubbed Project Prom by Dr. David Brobeck, the former Salem school superintendent who is helping to coordinate the project.
His daughter, Sarah Brobeck, a junior at Salem high school, said the idea for the project came about after a trip to San Antonio through her church, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Salem.
Similar projects have been done in other areas to help families cope with often high costs of prom night.
"We're hoping no one is left out," she said. "It's not about the dress. It's about the people and the friends."
She said a dress may sell for 100 to 500, with the hundred dollar dress being "a steal."
Tracy Boshoff, a Salem guidance counselor who is helping with the project, just picked up 15 donated dresses.
She noted that the cost of some prom dresses can equal the cost of books for one year in college.
For whatever reason, some of the donated dresses had never been worn. Dresses may be dropped off at any of the high schools. Women may even lend their dress.
Boshoff said that the prom dresses are generally worn only once and then live in a closet.
Sarah said women who still want to keep their prom dress, or others who want to get involved, can make donations. Funds will also be raised through other means, such as a dress-down day for Salem teachers who will pay to wear casual clothes.
Those donations will go toward vouchers that may help a student buy a dress if the she can't find one because of size, style or other issues.
Helping boys
The vouchers can also help out the boys.
Kolby's of Salem has stepped forward to donate one new dress with accessories and will offer help with the cost of tuxedo rentals, said Gary Abrams, manager and co-owner of the store.
The boys are also concerned about their looks. Abrams said the most popular tux now has tails and pinstripes. It's also the most expensive.
Prom customers will also become eligible for a drawing for a lady's diamond bracelet.
"I think this is a great program," Abrams said. "Everyone wants to feel good at prom time."
Kolby's will lend dress racks to be used the day the dresses are distributed. The Salem Community Center will host the dress distribution March 3. The times have not been set.
Individuals, organizations or businesses interested in supporting Project Prom may call any of the schools, e-mail or call (330) 337-8577.

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