BROOKSVILLE -- Fairy tales are coming true for some Bracken County students who needed formal wear for the prom or eighth grade dance.

Barbara Waddell and her friends, Sheila Lucas and Jeanetta Golden have collected a variety of styles and sizes of dresses for young ladies, and even attire for young men, from area residents.

They are giving them away to dance goers.

"Some still have the tags on them," Waddell said.

Girls have more than 70 dresses to choose from and boys can choose from a collection of suits which have been donated to project Dream to Dance in Brooksville.

"We got eight more dresses in today," Waddell said.

The dresses and suits are free for the taking for those Bracken County, St. Augustine and Augusta Independent School students attending their school proms or eighth grade dances.

Inspired by conversations between teen girls who were looking for an affordable place to find a formal dress for the prom, Lucas and Golden mentioned to Waddell the idea of collecting gently used gowns for local girls to receive.

Waddell offered to let part of her shop, Hair Quarters, be used for the project.

"We got a lot of donations, and we continue to accept them, because sometimes the girls need a different size or they really wanted a certain color," Waddell said. "We will also keep them for next year."

When the right match is made, the transformation is all the reward Waddell needs, she said.

"When they try on the dress and come out for us to see; you see the smile on their face and their mother's face," Waddell said. "They look like princesses."

Growing up, Waddell understood the cost of a new dress was not always in the family budget.

"My best friend and I use to swap dresses each year so we had a different look," she said. "Borrowing was popular too."

Raising a daughter who wasn't really interested in fancy dresses, Waddell got off easy, she said.

"She was easy on me. She likes the comfortable styles," Waddell said. "I was lucky."

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As prom dates near, Waddell hopes all the local students who are attending their dances have something nice to wear.

"We have given away many dresses and a few suits; we also have shoes, some jewelry and accessories, which have also been donated," she said. "We still have a lot of beautiful dresses to choose from."

In the future she hopes to expand the service to other schools, outside Bracken County.

"But, this is the first year and we are just learning what to do and not do," she said. "Wouldn't it be great to have all the prom dresses and suits donated to a place like this and know they were going to make another girl or boy feel so great."

Those who take items from Dream to Dance are asked to bring them back if they want to, but it is not a requirement; neither is there a financial need requirement to received free formal wear.

"In these economic times, everyone has different limits, and there is no need to show us any financial information. The only requirement is to be a BCH or AIS student going to their dance," Waddell said.

Dream To Dance is located on the corner of Miami Street and Locust Street in Brooksville.

For information on Dream to Dance call 606-735-2313, 734-3905 or 782-0019.


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