By Lethbridge Herald on February 9, 2020.
The Young Women’s Leadership Council, through the YWCA, gathered hundreds of dresses for graduating high school students to have for their graduation day for free, for the sixth annual Attire to Inspire event.
Throughout the weekend, dozens of students came with their families to search for the perfect dress to wear on the wrapup day of their public education ending celebration. Attire to Inspire was started by a group of young women who wanted to help graduating girls and non-binary individuals look their best, for free, on their graduation day.
“This weekend is our sixth annual Attire to Inspire event where we give away free grad dresses to those who are graduating high school this year or next year,” says Lindsay Brown, Girl Space Program Team Lead, YWCA.
“Our Young Women’s Leadership Council has been running for a number of years here at the YWCA, and it was a group of young women that were together and they wanted to fill a gap that they found in the community, which is that graduation is very expensive and they really wanted to celebrate the fact that so many girls are graduating high school, and so they started the campaign to gather dresses, along side with a worker at Winston Churchill High School as part of a project for them and we put on this event and it was really amazing and welcomed by the community so we continued it.”
As part of the event, students were able to get a lesson in makeup to practice with so they can do it themselves, along with being able to take part in a photo session for some graduation photos to take home. As graduation can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to fully put together the celebration, Attire to Inspire helps relieve some of that financial stress to families and students so they can focus on the celebration.
“Grad dresses vary in prices, you can find one for $150 but that is very rare, I think on average people spend about $400 and people can spend up to $1,000 alone on the dress alone, not even the hair and makeup or event included,” says Lacey Otway, President of Young Women’s Leadership Council, YWCA.
“We want to get that full effect, they come and they find a grad dress that they love, then they are taught how to do their hair and makeup for the day so that they are prepared, and it is just this beautiful opportunity to get some photos for free because that can be quite expensive, too, and it is a way to celebrate all of the hard work they did to get to this point and to have them feeling good leaving here.”
Hosting the event over the last six years has left volunteers and workers feeling satisfied and humbled from the work they have done by helping hundreds of local students feel confident, beautiful and proud of all they have accomplished.
“I really enjoy seeing how happy they are when they are trying on the dresses and when they find the right one, the smiles on their face and watching their confidence is really amazing to see that, and to be a small part of that is amazing,” says Brown.
The Attire to Inspire event returns every year during the second weekend of February for graduating students to explore their options for attire for their graduation. Grad dresses and gowns are also accepted for refurbishing, as they will be used by graduating students in the future.
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