New and gently used prom dresses, tuxedos, shoes and accessories are being collected from now until Feb. 22 by the Connecticut Alliance of Foster and Adoptive Families and the University of Connecticut Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., according to the Daily Digest.
The drive, coined the “Avenue of Dreams,” is in its second year at UConn and aims to provide foster or adopted teenagers with necessities for their prom nights. The donation box is located at the Asian American Cultural Center on the fourth floor of the Student Union, the announcement says.
Maggie Cheung, the philanthropy chair for DPhiL, said she feels the event is important because it gives children everywhere the opportunity to experience how memorable prom is to many students.
“I believe that high school is one of the most memorable and significant periods of one’s life. It is the turning point from where everyone goes from a teenager to a young adult,” Cheung said. “It’s the period where we start to shed away from the norms that we’re used to and start going forward into becoming someone that we want to be.”
Cheung said she draws on her own experiences in her last months of high school when reflecting on how vital it is to ensure every teenager gets to enjoy the last few fun events with their childhood friends.
“For me, prom night was the big finale that ended my senior year, and it does hold a special place in my heart as I spent it with my close friends and people who I don’t get to see as often anymore,” Cheung said. “Ultimately, as someone older, it is important to assist those to have these experiences.”
A teenager’s background or financial situation should not hinder them from having one of the greatest experiences they can have in high school, Cheung said.
“It’s important to ensure that those who [want] to have those special moments in life get to have them and not be held back because of the lack of options that they have,” Cheung said. “Professionally, as someone who has the privilege of bringing this drive to UConn, it is a great way for [the] community to give back and provide a resource for those in need.”
In November 2017, DPhiL held a day-long donation drive with the goal of getting dresses, tuxedos and accessories to around 150 foster families and adopted teens. A donation box was also available at the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life through December 2017.
Then DPhiL president Angela Villella said the event is something that advances the sorority’s cause on campus every year, given that the sorority was only charted in 2016.
“Delta Phi Lambda’s vision is to develop women into dedicated female leaders and by supporting organizations like CAFAF, we can extend this outside of the sorority and into the community,” Villella said. “In a sense we are ‘paying it forward’ to make a foster or adoptive child’s dreams into something that can actually happen.”
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.