Prom pop-up at Newmarket High School offers free dresses and accessories to students in need

A prom pop-up shop at Newmarket High School is making sure every girl in York Region has something to wear to prom and graduation this year.

The school runs the pop-up store in partnership with Girls Inc. of York Region to provide free dresses, shoes, accessories and even makeup to students in need. Mary Perin and her colleague Mary Lamanna organized things on the school side.

“The ultimate goal is to ensure that no student in York Region encounters barriers to attending a meaningful social event,” said Perin, Head of Guidance at Newmarket High School.

She said the prom is one of the biggest events for high schoolers, but it’s the first since COVID-19.

“All of our teenagers have been deprived of some of these life-changing experiences over the last two or three years,” she said. “Now that they’re back on the table and students can take advantage of them, we’re just making sure that in times of need, especially financial, none of our students run into that barrier.”

Perin said many students have to save for post-secondary education, prom tickets or other costs, and prom dresses can be quite expensive.

On May 12, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., students in need across York Region can come and pick up a free dress, shoes, purse, or whatever else they need to complete their prom look. .

“All York Region students are welcome. It doesn’t matter if they go to our school, even 8th graders who might be looking for their elementary school graduation gown. Who cares if they go to Catholic school, private school, it doesn’t matter.

The store is already stocked with dresses from Girls Inc. but the school is also asking for donations from the community. They are looking for prom or graduation dresses, women’s shoes, handbags, jewelry and gently used accessories. They are also looking for new and unopened makeup, nail polish and toiletries.

Donations can be dropped off in the off-school bin⁠—located at 505 Pickering Cres.—until May 10. Perin checks the bin daily and hangs what they receive in the room where they set up the shop.

Anything not used at this event will be taken by Girls Inc. for use at the next prom pop-up.

“It continues to dominate the next group of girls who might need something,” Perin said.

Prom dates vary by school, but students at Newmarket High School will celebrate on June 9.

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