‘Prom Dress Project’ returns: HRVHS junior organizes event for EA project

Morgan Totten, 16, a junior at Hood River Valley High School, is organizing this year’s Prom Dress Project as her Extended Application (EA) project, a requirement for all juniors and seniors. She’s currently collecting gently used prom dresses, shoes and accessories for the sale, with proceeds going to Helping Hands Against Violence. Drop off donations at the Hood River Valley High School Library or at The Next Door. The sale will be held March 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Next Door.

Photo by Trisha Walker
Morgan Totten, 16, a junior at Hood River Valley High School, is organizing this year’s Prom Dress Project as her Extended Application (EA) project, a requirement for all juniors and seniors. She’s currently collecting gently used prom dresses, shoes and accessories for the sale, with proceeds going to Helping Hands Against Violence. Drop off donations at the Hood River Valley High School Library or at The Next Door. The sale will be held March 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Next Door.



A popular prom dress sale will continue this year thanks to the work of a Hood River Valley High School junior.

Morgan Totten, 16, is organizing the Prom Dress Project as her Extended Application (EA) project. The event allows girls to buy prom dresses, shoes and jewelry at reduced prices — dresses are $10, everything else less than that. Totten is donating all proceeds to Helping Hands Against Violence, which serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

HOW TO HELP

Visit Totten’s Prom Dress Project Facebook page, www.facebook.com/..., email morgan.totten@hoo..., or call 541-399-6945.

“I wanted to help women especially,” Totten said. “I wanted to help women buy prom dresses, and then those women help other women at the center.”

Totten’s project mentor, Yesenia Castro, community health worker at The Next Door, resurrected the event last year — it had been on hiatus — from Prom Dress Project’s originator, Christine Keith. It was something Castro had wanted to organize herself as a teenager, having heard about similar programs in other cities, but she “didn’t have the capacity or the knowledge” at that time.

From Keith, Castro received timelines and contacts, and found volunteers to work at the event primarily through Facebook. But this year, she didn’t have the time to put it on, so she reached out to other members of the community hoping to find someone willing to pick it up.

One was Hood River Valley High School’s Charlene Ames, Pathways to Success teacher who works with students on their EA projects.

“She said, ‘This is perfect because Morgan wanted to do that’,” Castro said. “So it just worked out …

“As soon as I met with (Totten), I knew she had a hold on the event. She’s going to be amazing — I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.”

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Morgan Totten

Totten went to sale last year and saw how well attended it was. “I didn’t want it to go away because there’s no other opportunity for them, and for me as well (to buy dresses),” she said.

“As a high school student, Morgan knows specifically the needs of high school kids,” said Castro. “I know it’s going to be extra fabulous.”

While Helping Hands Against Violence is not a program of The Next Door, both organizations work closely together, Castro said.

The sale will take place March 19 at The Next Door from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will include snacks.

But before Totten can sell dresses and accessories, she needs to collect them.

She has two drop-off sites, although she’s looking for others in the Odell and Parkdale areas: in the Hood River Valley High School library, and the Next Door office on Tucker Road.

She’s taking gently used formal dresses — “But any dresses will do,” she added — and shoes and jewelry in good condition. She’s also looking to borrow clothing racks to hang the dresses during the event.

She’s excited both about the sale and the funds it will raise for Helping Hands.

“Stop by even if you’re not going to prom because it’s going to be a really good sale,” she said. “Everything is going to go back into the community — it’s a really good opportunity.

“Anyone is welcome to come.”



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