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Monday, Oct 20, 2014

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High school senior Kelley Johnson picks out a dress for her prom.

High school senior Kelley Johnson picks out a dress for her prom.

Photo courtesy of: Elizabeth Reyes

High school senior Autumn Sauer picks out a dress for her prom.

High school senior Autumn Sauer picks a dress as part of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Dresses Project hosted by the Ohio University Women’s Panhellenic Association.

Photo courtesy of: Elizabeth Reyes

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Dresses help local women

Donated gowns create new high school memories


The mission? Find a blue dress without too many sparkles in the appropriate size.

When Char Kopchick, Ohio University’s assistant dean of students for Campus Involvement, prompted the young women of the Ohio University Women’s Panhellenic Association, they responded.

The women searched the racks of more than 100 dresses, full of short, long, sleek and ball gowns at the fourth installment of the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Dresses,” an event geared towards helping young women in Athens County in need.

Each year, the women of OHIO donate past prom dresses so young women in Athens County can find a perfect dress, feel beautiful and make new memories at their high school dances.

“I definitely think it’s something that every girl dreams of experiencing at least once, and finding the perfect dress that fits you great and has all the sparkles and the glitter (is important),” explained Hannah Joy, WPA vice president of programming and services.

The dresses are free and several women searched through the racks to find a special one that suited their personality and tastes. Women who visited this year’s event at The Market on State Friday and Saturday tried on dresses and modeled them before an entourage of women from WPA, who complimented them and suggested other dresses they might like.

Taylor Gregory looked for a blue dress with her mom, Denise Gregory, and two sisters. Sister Albrey Dye also was in search of a dress.

Gregory and Dye both tried several dresses in different styles in colors with the help of WPA women, who came back to the dressing area holding armfuls of gowns in varying lengths for them to try.

“They’ve been really helpful and they’ve really liked having them show them around (and) tell their opinions,” Denise Gregory said of the help the women provided.

In the end, Dye went home with a red dress. Gregory had a more difficult time deciding between a blue dress and a purple gown, which strayed from her usual pick of blue.

Kopchick noticed the struggle and suggested Gregory take home both, so one will be used in the future at her Homecoming Dance

In the end, the women of WPA accomplished their mission of finding a blue dress for Gregory, and helped several others who were in search of a perfect dress to wear to prom.

Rather than living in the backs of closets, the gently-used gowns donated by OHIO students afforded an opportunity for young Athens County women to celebrate, have fun, feel beautiful, and without all the expense.