By Elizabeth Riggs
Bippity boppity boo! According to Springville local Rachel Perry, every girl deserves the right to feel like Cinderella on prom night. Which is why she took it upon herself to help out. But she’s not donating a dress, like you may expect. Instead, she’s giving the gift of her talent.
Perry, who is a local stylist and educator for a hair color company, says she had previously done hair for people who might not be able to afford items for back to school, which inspired her to help out for prom.
“It just kind of inspired me to do something locally,” Perry said. “I know that the demographic we have is pretty mixed here. There are girls who might not have a problem at all; there are others who may not be able to afford certain things.”
So, Perry reached out to the guidance counselor at Springville-Griffith High School and has worked out a way to style at least one lucky high school girl’s hair, in a way that is completely confidential. For Perry, seeing the smiles she creates is completely her effort.
“I just thought that I love what I do, and I love making people feel good,” she said. “It really doesn’t cost me much except for time. If I can put a smile on somebody’s face and make their night that much nicer, then I’m happy to do that.”
In addition to contributing her time, Perry also has friends who are joining forces to be able to offer additional services.
“I do have some friends who do makeup and friends who do nail art, and I’ve had many people reach out to me to say that they will do dresses,” Perry said.
This will mark the second year Perry has organized the assistance. For the 2016 prom, she was able to help one girl, and this year she is hoping to be able to do more.
“Last year I only had one girl. I’m kind of hoping more girls come forward—it’s fully confidential. I would love to continue it every single year,” Perry said.
Perry’s effort is refreshing in today’s world, but according to her, it’s just one way to support a bigger cause.
“I feel like women should build each other up,” Perry said. “To me, there is no better feeling than making someone feel beautiful. I feel like one of the most empowering things you can do for a woman is to give them confidence. If they are walking into the gym feeling a little more confident because of something I did for them, then that’s something I’m happy to do.”
In addition to Perry’s effort to help out, Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon and Urban Valet Dry Cleaner President Eric Pyne also recently announced that they will be collecting gently used or new gowns and dresses for their 8th annual Prom Dress Drive.
Each year the community generously donates more than a thousand dresses to ensure that every girl who needs a dress for prom has one.
“Now in our 8th year we are looking forward to once again providing amazing dresses, free of charge to anyone who wants one. The gown giveaway was initially started to help families alleviate some of the cost of prom, and while that is still a main goal, this event has also transformed into a great reuse program. It makes sense for anyone who doesn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a gown they will only wear once,” said Dixon.
Donors can drop off dresses from Monday, March 13 to Thursday, April 13 at 13 different locations in the Buffalo area in order to contribute to the cause. Donation locations include:
• Blasdell Village Hall, 121 Miriam Ave., Blasdell
• Boston Free Library, 9475 Boston State Road, Boston
• Dudley Branch Library, 2010 South Park Ave., Buffalo
• Eden Boys & Girls Club, 8284 North Main St., Eden
• Erie County Legislature, 92 Franklin St., Fourth Floor, Buffalo
• Hamburg Village Hall, 100 Main St., Hamburg
• Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo St., Hamburg
• Lackawanna Public Library, 560 Ridge Road, Lackawanna
• Lake Shore Branch Library, S. 4857 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg
• State Farm Insurance, 6778 Erie Road, Derby
• Urban Valet Cleaners’ three locations
• 106 Evans St., Hamburg
• 4081 North Buffalo Road, Orchard Park
• 620 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo
For those who may be interested in being the benefactors of Perry’s offer for prom hair styling, please reach out to the high school guidance counselors. For more information on Legislator Lynne Dixon’s Annual Prom Dress Drive, visit her page on the Erie County Legislature website: www2.erie.gov/dixon or her Facebook page: Legislator Lynne Dixon.