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  • Shaleena Campbell

The Project: Why HDC Was Made

The Harlem Dress Collective is a non-profit organization that works towards the development of lower-income high school-aged students and their families living in Harlem, by providing support in the form of free prom dresses, shoes, and accessories.

The program was started by two Harlem natives ( Zina and Shaleena Campbell) with stressful memories of their high school prom. They believe that prom season should be an extraordinary time in a young person’s life, however, it is often tainted by anxiety over financial woes. When deciding how to dispose of their own prom dresses, of course donating them crossed their minds. However, they wanted an experience that was more involved than just a local thrift store donation bin because specifically where and who their dresses went to was significant to them.

After having attended prom dress drives themselves they noticed that there is a lack of that type of support in Harlem. Leading them to create The Harlem Dress Collective. In efforts to make prom a reality for young women, just like themselves, who are deserving of enjoyable memories of such a milestone moment in their lives.

At The Harlem Dress Collective, we are aware that it can be difficult for struggling families and their teens to ask for help, so we decided to do the asking for them. We are in the early planning stages of our first prom dress drive and to be able to accomplish our goal of providing prom dresses to the community of Harlem, we are asking for donations.

What started as a simple thought has turned into a meaningful way to help young women in Harlem. In the future, The Harlem Dress Collective aims to turn our dress drive into an experience where participants can receive prom dresses, get professional pictures captured, and their makeup/hair done. Recreating the secretive and stressful tradition of preparing for prom and making it a glamorous community experience. 

#CommunityBuilding #change

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