Maryelis Santiago recently realized that many young girls might not be able to afford prom attire due to financial shortcomings. Hoping that girls may get the dresses they deserve, Santiago has formed a prom dress drive, asking people to donate their gently used dresses for those in need to wear to prom this April.
“I am a product of my community,” Santiago said. “I understand the struggles people endure.”
Thus far, she has received donations of more than 60 dresses, with 30 additional arriving the past weekend. She said she hopes girls, despite financial shortcomings, will enjoy one of the most important nights of their young lives.
“I recruited volunteers to donate dresses, and with the help of the Congresso network, I reached out to the community,” Santiago said.
She has worked closely with neighborhood organizations like Congresso, which has a vast network of willing recipients, while Voluntarios en Acción has arranged trained seamstresses to fix and fit the dresses for the young women.
“It’s amazing what she’s doing, she’s going to help a lot of young girls,” said Michael Martinez, an organizer of Voluntarios en Acción.
“My parents struggled financially when I was growing up, because we did not know what kind of assistance was available,” Santiago said, “But now I’m fortunate enough to be working with organizations that help get the word out to the community.”
Project Prom will be accepting donations through March 2 at the Congresso Headquarters at 216 West Somerset St. And on March 21, girls with school identification are invited to select a dress of their choice.
All inquiries should be made to Maryelis Santiago at 215-763-8870 ext. 1575.