By Sadia Badhon/The Oshawa Express
The second annual Gowns for Girls event, hosted by Durham police, came back with a bang, having collected more than double the number of dresses than the previous year.
For last years event, they collected 400 dresses, however, this year, numbers climbed to over a thousand.
“Our goal is to outfit a girl from head to toe and make them feel like a princess,” said Constable Joylene MacNeil, youth officer with the Durham police.
The Gowns for Girls event, held at Bobby Orr Public School in Oshawa on April 23, provided free dresses, shoes, jewelry, makeup and hairstyling tools to young girls in Durham so they could dress their best for prom and graduation.
While last year’s event was for Grade 12 students in Oshawa only, this year’s event was opened to graduating Grade 8 students across the region as well.
When Const. MacNeil found out from one of the schools that some of the girls were not going to their prom due to financial restraints, she decided to create this event.
“Proms come with a large price tag and it’s not attainable for some people, so my goal was to alleviate that strain on families by doing this,” she said.
Const. MacNeil thanks the community and Durham Regional Police Services, for making the event bigger and better than last year.
The main goal for this event is to bridge the gap with the police and youth, MacNeil says.
“Sometimes kids view the police in a different way than the way we truly are. Police are human beings too and we care, so we just want to make sure that they understand,” she said.
Initially the event was set to take place at Oshawa Central Collegiate but was moved to Bobby Orr Public School due to the Durham public high school teachers’ strike.
They are hoping to do the event again next year.
“I hope to spread the word even more, address more young ladies and get more kids to come and make them realize how much fun this truly is and not to be intimidated to walk through that door because there’s a bunch of police officers in there,” Const. MacNeil said.