Glamour Gowns brings ‘normalcy’ to prom for LA kids in need

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Volunteers help a Glamour Gowns participant find the perfect prom dress in 2022. Photo by Giuliana Mayo.

Tens of thousands of kids live in foster care in LA County. They face all kinds of challenges, from safe housing to schooling. One challenge you might not think about when it comes to school: dressing for prom. Thus, the nonprofit Glamour Gowns Suit Up gives free new clothes to thousands of boys and girls every year for the iconic school dance.

The new clothes they give out are donated by local retailers. “It's really important to us that everything we give to the youth is brand new — because there's a different value associated with an item when it's new to them,” notes co-chair Cibennie Snear. Once they have the outfits lined up, it takes hundreds of volunteers to put this annual event on. Among them are members of the local costumers union IATSE 705, who provide expert alterations at zero cost.  

“It's them giving of their time and giving of their talents to make sure that all of the youth that sometimes don't have that sense of normalcy, for lack of a better word, that they come and they feel loved and included with something that's such a big special process,” says Snear.