West Valley Rotarians host annual ‘Prom Closet’

Preparing for this year’s Prom Closet event are Gina Schmitz, principal of Landmark Elementary School, left, and Sue Bolton, co-chair of The Prom Closet and member of the Sun City Rotary Club. [Submitted photo]

Free formal attire available to teen students

Thanks to the efforts of several West Valley Rotary Clubs, young boys and girls throughout the area will be able to attend their high school prom this spring without having to spend a single penny on purchasing needed attire.

Beginning at the end of March and continuing through every Saturday in April, The Prom Closet — a project spearheaded by the Peoria North Rotary Club — will provide formal prom attire to boys and girls at no charge.

This year’s Prom Closet takes place 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, beginning March 30 and continuing through April 27.

The event takes place at Landmark Elementary School, 5730 W. Myrtle Ave., in downtown Glendale.

All high school teens are invited. There are no financial requirements and no application to be completed. All items are available at absolutely no cost.

The Prom Closet has thousands of formal prom dresses to choose from, as well as shoes and accessories. In addition to women’s clothing, the program provides men’s shirts, slacks, shoes and ties.

The program was initially created several years ago by Mary Ann Baker, a founding member and past president of the Peoria North Rotary Club. The Peoria club assumed total oversight of The Prom Closet two years ago and is supported by volunteer Rotarians from Sun City, Glendale, Surprise and Phoenix.

“It’s really grown into a community-wide project,” Donnis Deever, a member of Peoria North Rotary Club and co-chair of this year’s project, stated.

There are no reservations needed, however, there may be a short wait depending on the amount of people in attendance. Rotary volunteers accompany students individually through The Prom Closet to assist them with their selections.

Formal attire is only available to students.

The event has steadily grown over the years as word continues to spread. Last year, nearly 300 students from 70 Arizona high schools were served.

In the past, the event was open Saturday and Sunday, over three weekends. This year, the Prom Closet is open only on Saturdays, but on five consecutive Saturdays.

Rotary is an international service club with members throughout the world. Eliminating polio is a major focus of the organization, but other efforts include improving literacy, providing sustainable fresh water and helping those in need.

“Rotary’s motto is ‘service above self,’ and we think The Prom Closet lives up to that credo about as well as anything we can do,” John Moore, president of the Peoria North Rotary Club, stated.

All items — from the dresses to sport coats to shoes — have been donated to the club over the years. Donations are currently accepted at several locations throughout the Valley. Ms. Bolton can be reached at suebolton@gmail.com. For more information and a complete list of drop-off sites, visit thepromcloset.com  .

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