Lakewood Ranch Herald

Every Child Inc. Sarasota offering free prom dresses and accessories to students in need

SARASOTA -- Prom is one of the most exciting times in a high school student's life, and this special occasion is about to take place for thousands of students who attend schools in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

But too often, students tend to opt out and avoid going to the prom because they can't afford the cost of a gown, all the accessories that go along with it, and tuxedo rentals for the guys.

That doesn't have to be the case, according to Every Child Inc., a Sarasota nonprofit that has hundreds of prom dresses to give away, as well as purses, shoes, and jewelry, all donated by different vendors from the local community.

Every Child Inc. is sponsoring its 7th annual Cinderella and Her Prince event this from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Sarasota Historical Society's Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th St., Sarasota, where students can stop by and choose, at no cost, either new or gently used formals and accessories.

Boys are also welcome to visit and enter a drawing to win a tuxedo rental from Men's Warehouse.

"Our goal is to make every young girl feel special, and they do. They choose a dress and accessories which make them look forward to their prom, which is one of the most-memorable events in a young girl's life," said Judy Alexander, chief organizer for Every Child Inc., an all-volunteer agency that has helped underprivileged children and young adults for the past 16 years.

Alexander said the event wouldn't be possible without the help of volunteers, who return each year to take part in the poignant event.

"They are very committed. I always say, when I need angels, they appear for this particular project," Alexander said.

Every Child Inc. also hosts a Cinderella Project Runway event each June, where high school students redesign and transform formal dresses into fresh, new prom dresses that are judged and awarded monetary prizes.

Students interested in taking part in the runway event or the upcoming weekend prom giveaway can contact Every Child Inc. at

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter@MoschellaHerald.