After two years of having in-person graduation celebrations held off, high schoolers are looking forward to the chance to celebrate prom — but the costs involved aren't easy on some families.
Oftentimes, prom outfits sit and gather dust after only one wear, but this Sunday, over a hundred were given a second life at a giveaway organized by the NDG Community Council.
At the giveaway in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, high school students got the chance to pick a dress or suit, a piece of jewlery, as well as a pair of shoes or a purse — all free of cost. Free alterations were also available.
"It's very exciting, it's very surreal. I'm not really ready for prom," said graduating student Sarah Mazidi as she visited on Sunday.
She and her friend Sarah Jeon decided to check out the fair after stumbling upon the event on Instagram.
"As soon as I wore it I said 'Oh my God, this is mine. This one is made for me,'" Jeon said, standing in a green satin gown.
The giveaway was held at the daycare in the same building of the council's office, which was fitted with changing rooms and plenty of options for the roughly 50 students who registered to visit.
"It's a turning point for young people, it's a new chapter, and I know for a majority of young people, especially now, it's been a really hard time," said Wendy Gyetvay, who owns the daycare.
"Today to me it feels like this renewal."
In earlier years, she said, she saw a mother cry as her daughter picked out a beautiful gown she couldn't have afforded otherwise.
"What better way to pay it forward?"
This is the council's third run giving second-hand prom wear a new life since 2018.
The event also provided an opportunity for youth to reflect more on their shopping habits.
"We have to get youth to be into reduce, reuse, recycle," said Sharon Sweeney, an organizer with NDG community council.
Luckily, the NDG community was more than happy to help out.
"We had to stop donations because we couldn't keep up with the amount," Sweeney said.