A Night Among the Stars: Prom Starganza 2016

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Many of us see StreetWise every day, or at least every week. With our eyes closed, we can tell you where the front desk resides in relation to the lobby chairs, floor mats and hangings on the wall. It is an interesting feeling when all that you know so well is suddenly transformed.

Set-up for Prom Starganza was a full week’s process. On Monday, we began to label our furniture to ensure that everything would ultimately return home. On Tuesday, we packed up the regular clothing in our warehouse and brought down the bins of prom paraphernalia. On Wednesday, we cleared the clothing room, grabbing every piece of furniture we could find and stashing it safely. (As you have probably found to be true, sometimes the old things must be cleared away in order to make room for the new things God wants to provide.) On Thursday, the provision came.

Before we could help young men and women look their best, we had to give the first makeover to our own facility. Volunteer after volunteer rolled in rack after rack of fabulous formal wear. Lights were strung. Balloons were inflated. The stage was set. Some of our worker bees went until 1 a.m., making sure everything was ready to receive our guests in elegance!

It was hard to recognize StreetWise the next day, its familiar face altered to look like a top-notch boutique. As our guests entered, they were immediately made to feel welcome, expected and respected by our smiling greeter. Some sat with heads hung low, not knowing what to expect. Others bounced their knees in anticipation, eagerly looking around and making excited small talk.

Each student was then escorted back by his or her own personal shopper. That means every Client had at least one person solely devoted to serving them with undivided attention. Whether that Client sought a specific size or style, our sweet volunteers put forth every effort to change dreams into reality. Thanks to generous donations from community, ladies walked out with two incredible gowns apiece, and gentlemen took home a suit with three different vests in varying colors. We even had seamstresses on hand to make basic alterations if needed!

The fun didn’t end there. Subs, gourmet cupcakes and other snacks were served as the young people awaited the arrival of their altered packages. Girls also had the option to peruse for the perfect piece of jewelry and have their hair and makeup styled. All the while, StreetWise counselors engaged our guests, prayed with them and shared the love of Christ.

And that’s what it’s all about after all. When the students look back, they may not remember the sandwiches, but they will remember the way they were treated. They will remember the encouraging words. They will remember the joy, the hope and the love.

Every young man or woman served by Prom Starganza was either from foster care or a low-income family. Many of them may never have been served the way that they were last weekend, and it is unlikely that most would have been able to attend their high school proms without assistance. Whether they walked in happy, sad or just a little nervous, they left with heads held high and faces beaming. They carried themselves differently, not only because of what they carried in their hands, but also because of what they carried in their hearts. One boy literally thanked every person he met as he went through the process, from the moment he walked in the door until the moment he left.

While it is nice to hear, we don’t do it for the thanks. We don’t do it to keep teenagers in fashion. We do it to remind them of the One who fashioned them, the One who is all-sufficient, yet dreamt them for his good pleasure and delight. It is our prayer that He will seal up the words of truth that were given them here and continue to reveal Himself as their Father, Friend and Comfort.

We are grateful for every volunteer and donor who contributed to make Prom Starganza 2016 a joyous occasion for everyone involved. So many organizations throughout our community pitched in to create something wonderful for young people in need, and it is a memory that both those served and those serving will treasure for years to come.