Donations make prom possible

May 4, 2009 at 7:08 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s prom season, and a local event has made prom possible for high school girls of low-income families.

Jean Kamrath, a nurse at Columbus High School, started and organized the “closet extravaganza,” which provides girls living in the surrounding area prom dresses, shoes and accessories when their parents cannot afford to buy it all for them.

“Every girl deserves to look like and feel like a princess at least one day in her life,” said Kamrath.

Kamrath, 57, has been at Columbus High for about 20 years. Two years ago, Kamrath had a student with diabetes in the nurses’ office numerous times a day checking her blood sugar levels. Kamrath said, “I noticed that she had ratty jeans and no coat, and frankly, looked like an orphan.”

Kamrath said she felt badly for the girl and asked her daughter, Molly, a senior at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, to dig through her closet for clothes to donate to the student. “I had asked her about some good dresses knowing that she (the Columbus student) would not be able to go to the prom- or any dance for that matter.”

Kamrath also had her daughter ask friends to donate clothes via Facebook. “I called some parents, talked to the principals, organized some helpers and the event began,” said Kamrath.

Last year, Kamrath was able to collect about 100 dresses for donation and about 60 girls showed up.

About a month ago, Kamrath hosted the event for a second time. This time, there were about 1,000 articles of clothing, 300 pairs of shoes and a few tables of jewelry. There were about 20 volunteers and students who owed community service time came to help set up. The extra clothing went to local charities.

Abby Gross, a friend of Molly Kamrath, donated clothing to the event. She said, “For many girls, prom and homecoming is such an exciting time. It takes months to prepare for, and some dread it because they can’t afford a fantastic dress. For a lot of people this is their only option.”

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