When Corey Frank drove to The Northgate Mall last year to watch high school girls pick out donated prom dresses, he expected to witness a scene from the 1986 rom-com “Pretty in Pink.”
Instead, he found himself choking back tears as he watched girl after girl sashay down a runway and smile at the confident prom queen — complete with a dress, tiara and sash — reflected in the mirror.
“It overwhelmed me to the point that I just had to leave and go sit in my car because it brought me back to my childhood,” said Frank, who serves as president of the Greater SWLA Black Chamber of Commerce. “I remembered this girl who asked to be my date to prom my senior year, and she said how I made her feel beautiful just by saying yes. And when I was watching those girls in those dresses I was just transported back to that moment because I know those girls felt beautiful and had that confidence because of this event.”
Butterfly Effect Project, formerly known as The Cinderella Project, inspired Frank and Abraham Rubin to launch a similar event this year for high school boys.
Prom Time Giveaway will provide high school students with tuxedo rentals and an etiquette lesson ahead of prom.
“This is a special event for young men,” said Rubin, who also leads local nonprofit Boys 2 Men. “Some young men can’t afford to spend $100 on a tux rental, and they may not be familiar with things like offering a corsage or opening a door for their date.”
Squires Formal Wear is sponsoring Prom Time Giveaway, but Frank and Rubin are still seeking community sponsors to help offset expenses so teen boys can also feel confident at their high school prom.
Details are being finalized on the inaugural event so the boys will have the same opportunity to show off their tuxedos ahead of prom.
Butterfly Effect Project happens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 16 at The Northgate Mall. All a high school girl needs to leave with a prom dress is a current high school ID card.
Robbi Schooley plans to spend her 38th birthday volunteering for Butterfly Effect because as a mother of three teenagers, she knows well the expense and importance of prom.
“Events like Butterfly Effect mean everything,” Schooley said. “My husband and I were homeless when we moved to Lafayette four years ago with our three kids, and this community embraced us. We wouldn’t be standing here if others hadn’t stepped up.”
Learn more about attending, volunteering or sponsoring Butterfly Effect Project or Prom Time Giveaway at newdayoutreach.org.