Fifty-five girls who are either homeless or in foster care were swirling in their prom dresses today during Operation School Bell's Prom Day.
"They are fifty-five girls who are graduating high school despite their difficult circumstances so we're really happy to be able to provide this for them," said co-chair of Operation School Bell Wendy Silver.
The girls are referred by the Los Angeles Unified School District's Homeless Education Program, and they come from schools all over the district. The Operation School Bell Prom Day has existed for eight years, and this year, they are providing dresses for twenty girls more than in the past. Psychiatric social worker Lorna Gregory brought a student, Jennifer Martinez, whom she feels needs a boost.
"She's got a really sad situation where her parents are no longer with her because they were deported, so I've been kind of like the parent for her on campus and trying to make her last year, her senior year, the very best it could possibly be," said Gregory.
As she gushes with excitement in a floor-length mint-green gown, Martinez said "To think you could just come to a place and pick out a dress and your heels and just say 'That one!' and just make it happen, like, it's amazing and I'm so appreciative," said Martinez.
There to lend his support and zesty personality was fashion guru Stephen Cojocaru, or "Cojo," who had girls strutting out of the curtain as if they were on the red carpet.
"Okay, Raya, are you ready to show yourself to the world in your new punk edge prom look?" Cojo exclaimed as a girl beamed with excitement as she slid the curtain aside.
The girls received free prom dresses, shoes, purses, wraps, jewelry, and make-up all provided by JC Penney, Nickolodeon, television shows from CBS, and friends of co-chairs Wendy Silver and Linda Levine who volunteer their time to help these disadvantaged girls.
"I would say every girl has a dream, and every girl wants to be a princess," said Levine.
As they twirled in prom dresses adorned with sparkling shoes, clutches, and classic wraps, the girls were guided past news cameras like princesses receiving their award for finishing school despite the hardships.
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