Dreams Delivered, ETHS’ prom dress service, offers inclusive options for seniors

Hours of shopping, with tailored measurements, bedazzled jewelry and a dress to wear for one night only. The hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of dollars spent per year on prom “necessities”, can truly come out to feel absurd. In order to make prom more affordable and accessible, ETHS has partnered with the Women’s Club of Evanston to create Dreams Delivered, a program that allows students to select dresses and other prom accessories, completely free of charge. 

“I think it is a really amazing way to provide a service for students,” said student activities coordinator Kathy Rosemond. “Some students may not want to attend prom because they can’t afford the ticket and the dress or the accessories and whatever. [Dreams delivered] gives [students] the opportunity to have a dress that is probably unique and something that they can choose for their own body type, height, size, and everything else that they can make their own.”

Dreams delivered was created 15 years ago, since then, over 800 ETHS students have found stunning prom dresses, completely free of charge. The dresses are available to all Evanston community members, despite financial abilities. 

“Dreams Delivered works to provide free prom dresses for those students who are looking for a prom dress and maybe don’t want to spend a large amount of money, maybe have financial hardships, but it is available to all students regardless of financial need,” says Rosemond.

In order to promote Dreams Delivered, over the past few years ETHS has run a fashion show at the senior assembly. In hopes of bringing attention to the Dreams Delivered program, students are selected to wear dresses from the program and show them to the senior class.

“I was personally in the fashion show and I really think it helped bring light to the program,” says senior Maya Wallace. “We actually [went] to the women’s shelter to try on the dresses and meet all the staff–they were super nice. All the dresses are really nice. So we made it a really fun experience for ourselves. I enjoyed it personally.”

Dreams Delivered has succeeded as a program, with students aware of the resources available to them. With ETHS’ large socioeconomic range of diversity it is easier to support a  program like Dreams Delivered while many other schools around the North Shore don’t present these kinds of opportunities.

“There’s a lot of resources in Evanston. And this is one of them,” says Wallace, “that’s part of what’s really great about living here. There’s a lot of opportunities and resources that people should take advantage of that other people don’t have access to.”

Along with the expenses of a prom dress, the sheer idea of wearing a dress for a single event can feel wasteful. With prom dresses costing anywhere from $100-$600, utilizing the resources Evanston has to reuse and recycle can feel a lot more beneficial. 

“I like the whole idea of thrifting and recycling clothes, I think it’s better for the environment than going to a shop and buying a brand new dress that you will wear for one night,” says senior Izzy McDermot. “[Dreams Delivered] gives the pieces of clothing more life rather than one person buying a dress from the store and wearing it for one night and then just hiding in their closet. Overall I just think this is a very positive program.”