SOUTH BRONX, NY – Say yes to the dresses – and the tuxes!
Prom night will be a reality for city teenagers who didn't think they had a shot at enjoying the right of passage.
Thanks to fashion savvy donors, high school students can pick up evening gowns and suits collected by a South Bronx clinic.
Teens like Lourjey De Los Santos, 16, felt like a million bucks wearing a red velvet gown.
"I just like how this one looks. It's just my style," Lourjey said. "I feel like I'm in the red carpet. A lot of our families are not able to afford a dress like this. This looks expensive."
She plans to impress her friends when she walks into the Jonas Bronck Academy prom.
"You look so good, like Halle Berry!" volunteer Maria Alfonso told Lourjey.
"I love it!" she replied with a bright smile.
The first annual Slay My Prom Project gave away more than 70 dresses and 40 suits to students who gathered at the Bronxcare Third Ave. Medical Practice.
"A lot of these teens go to school with few resources. A lot of them could not afford to buy dresses and suits, so they wouldn't go to the prom," said Dr. Cynthia Lewis, who runs the youth programs at the clinic.
"We want them to look fabulous, like movie stars. They have to deal with a lot of hardships. They go through metal detectors. They deserve a reward."
"We want them to have nice stuff. Some are never worn and (some are) brand names like Vera Wang and Perry Ellis," Dr. Lewis said.
The duds were donated by nonprofit clinic staff, Robert Sancho, an administrator, Barbara Lowe, a board member, Peter Sherman, a doctor, and community organizations.
More than 170 students have collected their black-tie attire in the last few weeks, Lewis said.
Amani Tomoney, 16, a student at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics, eyed a sparkly black dress.
"Being a senior is really expensive. Having people help you afford prom is a really good thing," Amani explained. "I'm more of a plain person. This is a chance to get out of my comfort zone. I'm very excited."
The boys are also getting in on the action. Lewis led 14-year-old Ikrami Ouro to a rack filled with suits and shoes.
"I'm looking for something stylish. I just want to look nice to hang with my friends and dance with girls," Irami said.
Minutes later, he was styling in a black pin-striped suit and a red bow tie.
"This is very helpful. I think a suit like this would cost like $300," he said. "I would not be able to afford it. Now I can to go the prom looking elegant."