Prom Dresses for Social Justice

May 13, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Epoch Times Photo

At first glance, prom season doesn’t have anything to do with social justice. It’s a time of young love, late nights and creating memories that will last a lifetime — for good or bad.

Two stories though show how much human caring can be included.

A high school star athlete takes a girl to the prom — while leaving his girlfriend at home, and people who make proms affordable show what the night can be like when people just show some basic consideration for others.

Dream Prom

Sometimes it’s not money that keeps people from going to the prom — there are other challenges.

Trey Moses, basketball standout for Eastern High School in Louisville, Kentucky helped a girl go to her dream prom.

Moses had planned to take his girlfriend to the prom but decided to ask Ellie Meredith. That would how the story would conclude if it weren’t for Ellie.

Ellie Meredith has Down Syndrome.

Moses texted Ellie’s parents for permission to ask their daughter out. When they texted their approval, Moses presented Ellie with a sign saying, “Let’s Party Like It’s 1989.”  The sign was a reference to Ellie’s favorite singer, Taylor Swift.

Ellie’s mother, Darla Meredith, was thrilled with the news of Ellie going to the prom.

“You just feel numb to those moments raising a special needs child. You feel the need to overprotect,”  Meredith said.

Despite approving Moses’ request to take Ellie, Meredith was concerned about the price.  Many students spend thousands of dollars in the lead-up to prom season and end up breaking the bank for one night of memories.

Fortunately, there are options.

Pre-Owned Prom Dresses

Retailers like and RissyRoos  and others do their part to make sure prom night is enjoyable and memorable without overspending.

While the cost of attending a dance can run into thousands of dollars when all of the extras are included, many retailers have packages that stay affordable and within the means of many girls. Without the retailers who put people first, there would be young ladies who couldn’t go.

When Sherry Thornhill got invited to her first prom, she couldn’t afford to buy a gown. She did what countless girls do — she borrowed one from a friend.

From that experience, Thornhill decided to help high school girls avoid the same fate and get the chance to sort through racks of expensive gowns and pick the dress of their dreams.

Thornhill, wife of Rick Thornhill, pastor of New Home Community Church makes sure that girls from low-income families can enjoy their special night in a gown of their choice.

“The girls get so happy because it’s not $20, it’s not $10 — it’s entirely free.”

“Bless with a Dress,” New Hope’s program, is one of several recycled prom dress shops in the region. Started by youth assemblies or students, prom dress giveaways take gowns word once — or not at all — and give them to girls who struggle to pay for one on their own.

Starting in late April, Thornhill transforms an extra room at the church into a boutique. Girls from the area make appointments to shop, and Thornhill says that helping select gowns is her favorite part.

In 2014 approximately 30 girls chose from more than 100 dresses.