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TCU alumni connect with each other at Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. on Friday Oct. 7, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tristen Smith)
How TCU's alumni chapters keep the Horned Frog spirit alive post-grad
By Addison Thummel, Staff Writer
Published May 11, 2024
TCU graduates can stay connected with the Horned Frog community with alumni chapters across the nation.

Prom Dreams Boutique ministry supports high school students

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Haylee Chiariello
Prom Dreams Boutique offers a wide variety of prom and formal dresses. (Haylee Chiariello/Staff Photographer)

For many high school seniors, prom is a rite of passage into adulthood, but the costs associated with the special spring night can be staggering, especially when it comes to the dress and its accessories.

Prices for this year’s collection range from a Mermaid Beaded Applique Lace Back Gown for $369 at Dillard’s to a Jovani at Whatchamacallit for $1,460. 

In recent years, churches and nonprofits have stepped up to help make prom a little more affordable. 

On Thursdays from 5-7 p.m., girls can shop at the Prom Dreams Boutique, a ministry at University Christian Church, for their prom ensembles. Dresses, shoes, jewelry and handbags are available to shoppers free of charge.

As the Chair of Prom Dreams, Kalen Ruiz said the boutique is “just like shopping at a regular store.”

Just as the ministry intended, the boutique’s wide array of options closely mimics the set-up of many major retail stores, complete with clothing racks, dressing rooms and garment bags. 

 

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Some shoppers even prefer the close-knit environment of the boutique over traditional formal dress stores.

“It is less intimidating than going to a department store,” said Cynthia English, a mother who found the ministry through a flyer from her teen’s school. “Everybody here is so welcoming.”

Gowns are carefully organized by size on shiny silver garment racks, making it easy for young shoppers to find the perfect fit. From slinky sequins to sophisticated taffeta, dresses reflect many current fashion styles and color trends.

For shoppers and volunteers, the most magical experience at the boutique is the moment when the girls strike a pose in front of the mirror wearing the gowns.

Prom Dreams Boutique shoppers try on dresses. (Haylee Chiariello/Staff Photographer)

“There’s lots of tears sometimes because it’s such an amazing opportunity for them that they maybe would not have had,” said Ruiz. 

Boutique volunteers take special care in ensuring the experience of every shopper is a dream come true. 

“You can see the enthusiasm and excitement of the girls coming out of the dressing room and feeling like princesses,” said volunteer Diane Hawley.

The magic continues even after girls say yes to their dresses. Volunteers help shoppers select lively heels, sparkly earrings and petite purses to complement their look. Taylor Howell, University Christian Church member and boutique volunteer, said the ministry’s reach has continued to grow each year.

“We have so many generous people and so many women and girls that donate that it keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said Howell.

The store does not require an intake application but requests that shoppers share their name and school information for outreach purposes. Those interested in volunteering at the boutique can sign up on the Prom Dreams’ SignUpGenius.

In addition to prom apparel donations, supporters can also contribute financially by specifying Prom Dreams Boutique through the University Christian Church’s Venmo.

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