Spread the Love {And Shed the Clutter!}

If you work or live with teenagers, you know what this time of year means; and if you don’t, you probably can’t imagine that teenagers are thinking about this already, but . . . PROM season is quickly approaching!

When I taught high school I was always surprised by how quickly after Christmas break “prom talk” began in my classroom.  First, it would be the excited conversations about who was asking whom; then, a few weeks later girls would be talking about where/when they were going to buy their dresses.  Boys would start to get nervous about getting that exact right corsage/tuxedo/dinner reservation.  Finally, the finishing touches for prom night would start to fall into place.  The Friday before prom, girls would come into my classroom spray-tanned, with a manicure that exactly matched the color of their dress and boys would sport their freshly cut hair! It was always such an exciting time for the students and I loved hearing about their prom plans!

Except for when things didn’t play out that way . . .

In amongst the excitement, there’d be students who would shy away from the “prom talk.” Inevitably, I’d have a student or two in my classroom that would declare they weren’t going to prom because they didn’t have a date or because it was old-fashioned, or because prom was “dumb.”

Sometimes, I’d talk to those students after class and say something like,

“I understand prom isn’t everyone’s thing and its totally up to you if you want to go or not, but I’d hate for you not to go because you’re nervous or unsure about something.  I’d hate for you to look back 5 or 10 years from now and think ‘I kinda wish I would’ve gone to prom.’  You could go and just test it out to see what you think.”

Sometimes the students would roll their eyes and say that I sounded just like their mom (sometimes they were too polite to roll their eyes) but sometimes they’d say “I really would like to go to prom, but I just can’t afford it.”

Gowntown 2013 063So, you’ll probably understand when I tell you that KZIA is hosting an event that has always been near and dear to my heart.  If you’re a KZIA (Z102.9) listener, you’ve probably heard of the event: Gown Town!  (If you’ve not heard of the event you must try to find Schulte and Swann’s rendition of “Gown Town” sung to the tune of “Down Town.—I love it!).  Gown Town is the perfect feel good event for moms with kids of any age to participate in!

Here’s the lowdown on Gown Town:

What: Opportunity for high school students to get a prom dress, shoes, and jewelry at no cost; no questions asked.

Where: Westdale Mall (exact store location TBD)

When: March 1st, noon – 3pm

How to help: Donate your formal dresses, shoes, and jewelry (drop off locations TBA—listen to Z102.9 or visit kzia.com to get up-to-date information)

Gowntown 2013 090“Gown Town is so important to high school girls and their families.  Prom is an important right of passage, but it’s expensive.  Getting a free dress and a pair of shoes or jewelry really removes some of the financial stress for Gown Town participants.  This is one of Z102.9’s favorite events we do all year long.  It’s feel-good all around for everyone involved–from the girls getting a dress who are excited to go to prom to the women who are donating their dresses and happy to pass them on. “

     –Clare Duffy, Schulte & Swann in the Morning

If you don’t have anything to donate, but would like to help out. you could organize a Gown Town collection at your place of work and take the dresses to a Gown Town drop-off location.  You can also make sure you tell every teenaged girl know about Gown Town!

What’s your favorite “feel good” event you participate in?

Kate lives in Iowa City with her husband (Matt) and three kids, ages 7, 5, and 2. She works at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa. She earned her PhD in Curriculum and Supervision in 2012. Prior to working at the University, she taught high school mathematics at many public schools in Iowa. Kate has also coached junior high and high school cheerleading squads for 10 years. Kate has a personal blog http://katedegner.wordpress.com . . . stop by and relive your junior high and high school mathematics classes! (without the anxiety or the homework :) )

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