A new charity in Union County hopes to give young ladies a night to remember this spring.
The seeds were planted three years ago when Mattie Berbee started volunteering for the Care Train of Union County and was introduced to the many aspects of the charity. Care Train is 25-year-old organization that collects toys and donations for families in need at Christmas.
This past December the group provided gifts and food vouchers to 457 families, with 783 children.
As Berbee worked with the organization, the seeds for a new outreach began to grow.
"It made me think of all other financial burdens that a family faces, besides the pressures of the holiday season, such as prom," said Berbee.
That realization lead Berbee to put together Prom Remix, an organization designed to provide high school girls with the means to have a memorable prom regardless of their family's financial situation.
"In turn it could help to work on the self esteem of a young woman, as there are so many other pressures of teenagers these days. Prom should not be stressful," said Berbee.
Prom Remix is in partnership with the Care Train of Union County. In December, Dave Laslow, Care Train of Union County founder, talked about the upcoming Prom Remix launch.
"If we can make a 17- or 18-year-old girl feel special -- that's something we want to do," said Laslow. "We'll be discreet just like we are in everything else. And if we can make a woman's life better, we're going to do it."
The call went out three weeks ago for dress donations and the organization now has more than 50 dresses along with a good number of accessories, shoes, jewelry and purses.
"We knew based on the number of families that take part in the Care Train that there is a population that needs assistance. It was not until we launched this idea that we received a great response from the community on how this is something that should have happened awhile ago," said Berbee.
Any Union County high school female is eligible to attend the Shopping Day. The organization will ask the girls for basic information such as school name, city of residence and year in school.
Shopping Day is March 23. Doors to the United Methodist Church, 207 S. Court St., will open at 10 a.m. and close at 2 p.m.
"Each girl can have one female guest with them and will be assigned to a volunteer Personal Shopper," said Berbee.
The Personal Shopper will help the girl find dresses in her size and style choice. Girls can try on dresses and accessories in making their selection. All dresses are on a first come, first serve basis.
"While everyone is not guaranteed to find a dress that they like, we hope that they do leave with something to help make their prom experience more memorable," said Berbee.
Berbee hopes to collect more dresses and donations in order to help as many girls as possible in the coming years.
"We want this to be something that girls tell their friends and sisters about and they look forward to the shopping experience," said Berbee. "In the long term, we would love to see it develop into more then just dresses, perhaps offering opportunities to young women in the community such as with scholarships etc."