Davina Jones, founder and executive director of Couture Cares, set the tone throughout for the Her Prom Closet event. (Courtesy photo)

The need is as real today as it was eight years ago when HER Prom Closest first stepped up to ensure that more local young ladies would have an opportunity for an unforgettable prom night.

This year (on March 12), Hickory Ridge Mall was transformed into an enormous department store with HER Prom Closet providing formal wear to girls who could not otherwise afford to attend their proms.

Through donations of new and gently-used formal dresses, HER Prom Closet turned those dresses into dreams for juniors and seniors in Memphis, Desoto County and surrounding areas in the MidSouth.

HER Prom Closet was an amazing experience,” said McKenzie Lyles, a recipient. “I’m so relieved. I wouldn’t have been able to attend prom if I hadn’t found a dress today.”

McKenzie Lyles has her prom dress. (Courtesy photo)

Elegant formal gowns, prom dresses and pageantry-wear lined several rows. There were private dressing rooms on both sides and each girl was given a personal shopper to help them navigate through the numerous choices.

“I Said Yes to the Prom Dress” was the catchphrase signaling that one of the girls had found a choice to their liking.

Entering the room, each was greeted with tunes provided by DJ ShaKevia Newsum. Excitement, grace, love and respect from the many volunteers and greeters soon followed.

Her Prom Closet is an extension of the non-profit Couture Cares, whose founder and executive director is Davina Jones. Her ongoing vision is to plant seeds of change in the minds, hearts and lives of youth in Memphis, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

Guest speaker Dionne Jones-Woody, an elementary assistant superintendent in Jackson Public Schools, came ready with this message:

“Be pretty on the outside but also pretty on the inside. … Your attitude depends on your altitude. You can be pretty, but if you don’t have a good attitude in life, it won’t get you far.”

All in for Her Prom Closet are (l-r) Tyler Jones, Davina Jones and Dionne Jones-Woody. (Courtesy photo)

A seamstress was on-site pinning dresses for any needed alterations.

“It is our mission that the girls leave knowing they are cherished,” Jones said.

Lunch was provided by ChickFilA. Sweet treats and goody bags also were given to each of the attendees.

Since its inception, HER Prom Closet has assisted 1,600-plus young ladies.

“My overall goal is providing the community with deep knowledge and creative solutions to address needs and opportunities,” Jones said.

GALLERY:

 

(‘HER Prom Closet’ accepts dresses and monetary donations year-round. Visit www.CoutureCares.org for more information.)