Fashion industry gives back to Fostercare Kids in LA for Prom Season
W. Jason Grimley
Los Angeles On April 8th, teenagers in the Los Angeles foster care system will have the opportunity to find their perfect prom outfit at the Glamour Gowns and Suit Up Event. Teens will have all their dream prom needs filled thanks to supporting local fashion brands including Masquerade Formal Wear from DJ Bronson, Chinese Laundry, Jenette Bras and Gianni Inc. Menswear. This event takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from 9am to 6pm. Spots are still available for foster youth who wish to participate; registration closes Wednesday, April 5th. To register please go to www.casala.org/ggsu.
For over fifteen years, the Glamour Gowns and Suit Up Committee has served more than 5,000 teenage girls in the foster care system, providing them with formal gowns, shoes and accessories for their prom or other formal event – all at no cost. For the third year, young men in the foster care system also can attend prom in new suit, shirts, ties and shoes. This year’s Glamour Gowns and Suit Up event will service over 600 young men and women, giving them the formal attire to look and feel confident both socially, and professionally.
The Glamour Gowns and Suit Up Event is organized by a dedicated volunteer committee working in conjunction with CASA of Los Angeles, staffed with over 300 volunteers and made possible by donors like SHARE, INC.
Each foster youth is paired with an adult volunteer who, as their “personal shopper” for the day, helps them choose their attire. Giving suggestions when asked, bringing alternate sizes and styles to the dressing room, these volunteers encourage and collaborate with each youth to put together their unique ensemble for their special day. A team of seamstresses and tailors volunteer for the day to help each young person achieve the proper fit. Hair stylists and make-up artists add their expertise with demonstrations to help these youths complete their look for their special evening. Many of the youth are deeply touched by the amount of care and attention they receive as evidenced by their thank you notes.
“This extraordinary event allows for a large number of Los Angeles foster teens to attend prom night regardless of their personal circumstances,” said Kristen DeLeo, Chair, Glamour Gowns and Suit Up 2017,
“The day itself is an amazing ‘shopping spree’ that focuses the attention on our teens, who unfortunately have grown used to blending into the background. An experience like this builds their confidence and self-esteem.”
There are 30,000 children under the jurisdiction of the dependency court in Los Angeles County, including more than 18,000 who live in foster care. Financial circumstances often do not allow for “non-essential,” yet important, items like prom dresses or suits for formal dances and similar events. The Glamour Gowns and Suit Up Event seeks to create lasting, positive memories for milestone events like these in the lives of young people who have often endured and overcome difficult circumstances.
For Those Interested in Volunteering
Volunteers are especially needed for set up and tear down on Friday, April 7th and Sunday, April 9th. There is no childcare available for volunteers so CASA asks that young children be left with a caregiver. Go to casala.org/ggsu for more information and to sign up for a volunteer shift.
Founded in 1978, CASA of Los Angeles is a community-supported 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to mobilize community volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in the overburdened foster care system of Los Angeles County. CASA’s vision is of a Los Angeles where every foster child has an advocate and the opportunity to thrive. Through committed, highly trained everyday citizen volunteers, CASA brings the voice of a concerned community into the child welfare system. Studies have shown that children with CASAs receive more assistance and support than children without, and are more likely to be adopted or returned to their families and less likely to reenter the child welfare system. For more information, please visit the CASA of Los Angeles website: www.casala.org .
ABOUT GLAMOUR GOWNS AND SUIT UP
The Glamour Gowns and Suit Up event is produced and managed by a dedicated committee who volunteer their time and resources. Members of I.A.T.S.E. Motion Picture Costumers Local 705, Costume Designers Guild Local 892 and Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 768 donate their time to help tailor each dress or suit to a perfect fit. Thank you to our sponsors and donors: SHARE, Inc., Masquerade Formal Wear from DJ Bronson, Gianni Inc. Menswear, Chinese Laundry, Jenette Bras, Nelson Galloway, Friar Tux Shop, Paul Mitchell, April Love Makeup Academy, Neutrogena, Kimberly Clark, OPI, Deborah Dodge Photography and the countless number of volunteers. Invaluable support has also been received from Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price of District 9.