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Operation Prom Initiative to help local community attend prom

Submitted photo Katie Spiegel, a realtor with ERA Team VP, is spearheading an initiative to help local kids be able to attend prom.

A local Realtor has begun an initiative to help local kids be able to afford to go to prom this upcoming season.

From now until the end of March, Katie Spiegel, a Realtor at ERA Team VP, is asking for donations from the local community of anything prom-related, specifically prom dresses, shoes or accessories. Donations can be dropped off at the Warren YMCA, 212 Lexington Ave. daily between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. It is asked that the staff is informed that it is a donation for the Operation Prom Fundraiser.

Spiegel, who is spearheading the event along with ERA Team VP, said the idea came to her after she thought about rising prices.

“I got to thinking about how expensive things have gotten and the idea of not being able to go to prom is crazy to me,” Spiegel said. “I wanted to give back to the community and I have old prom dresses gathering dust in my closet so I thought I could give back by offering that to the community to help.”

Spiegel said her goal for the fundraiser was to allow anyone who wants to go to prom to have the opportunity to go. She said she thinks of prom and school dances as some of the best memories of that time.

“I look back and some of my best memories from school are prom and school dances,” Spiegel said. “I don’t want someone to miss out because they can’t afford a dress. I want them to be able to dance the night away and remember it for the rest of their lives.”

At the end of this initiative, Spiegel plans on having a day where young people can come and freely browse through all of the items donated without any financial burden. This event, which Spiegel calls a Free Community Prom Dress Shopping Event will be held on April 13 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Warren Student Union Building — 330 Hickory Street. All items will be available at no cost.

“I envision basically having all of the donated formal wear, accessories and shoes out and people can come and look and find everything they need to make the night spectacular,” Spiegel said.

If someone is not able to make it that day, they can contact Spiegel at 916-243-9056 and arrangements can be made.

Spiegel thanked both the Warren YMCA and Warren Student Union for working with her as a drop off point and allowing her to host the shopping day event there. While this is not something Spiegel has ever done before, she hopes to be able to make it annual. Additionally, she hopes to be able to expand next year to offering even more items like tuxedos. Right now she said only dresses are offered as a lot of the time tuxedos can be rented and dresses cannot always be.

Spiegel hopes the community will come together and help others get the chance to go to prom.

“We hope that this event will ensure that prom will be an experience that all can enjoy,” Spiegel said. “Let’s come together as a community and make those memories accessible to all.”

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