Operation Prom Dress to the rescue

Church helps girls attend school event.Epiphany Lutheran promotes positive self-image.

The prom is a rite of passage for high school girls, every spring. But everyone can’t afford the glitz and glamour it entails. A local church helps.

Epiphany Lutheran Church in Centerville held its fifth annual Operation Prom Dress on March 21 at its Far Hills campus, providing gowns and accessories to young ladies who otherwise would not be able to attend this event.

Kayley Hedge, a junior at Centerville High School, was one of those fortunate young ladies. She received a gorgeous royal blue strapless gown covered in sequins.

“I’m very excited; I love dressing up and dancing with my friends,” said Hedge, who will attend Centerville’s prom this weekend.

Her mother, Centerville resident Wendy Hedge, indicated that she is also excited for her daughter.

“It’s given my daughter a chance to look and feel beautiful on her special day, and gave us a way to afford to send her,” said W. Hedge. “[Epiphany Lutheran] is our home church, and I’m lucky enough to be a part of the beautiful day, too!”

Epiphany is dedicated to promoting a positive self-image and confidence for teen girls based on their identity in Christ and inner beauty, not just their outward appearance. The day includes a light breakfast, gown selection and professional hair and makeup services. The girls come from as far away as Arcanum to the north, and Lebanon to the south. The day concludes with a photo shoot, lunch, prayer and Bible presentation.

One of the church’s faithful volunteers, Rose Wasky, shared a memory following the experience: “The last memory I had was during the teardown of the changing room. I stood back and watched a beautiful young woman sitting on the floor … all by herself. She was just looking at herself in a full-length mirror, which lasted a good 10 minutes. I will never forget it. … I saw God’s love in her reflection.”

Professionals and volunteers who donated services: Colleen Penquite of Shapes for Hair; Affinity Salon & Day Spa; Design One Salon; Carla Silverii of The Salons at the Greene; “RODAN + FIELDS” independent consultant Sarah Sollar; Athena’s Bridal & Prom; Clothes that Work; The Fox Gallery in Germantown; and CJ Fintel Photography.

“This event could not happen without the support of Epiphany Lutheran Church staff and congregation, our faithful volunteers and our surrounding schools and businesses,” said event coordinator Tonya Johns. “For that, I am grateful.”

Additional donations came from Dorothy Lane Market in Oakwood, Bill’s Donuts, Centerville Pizza, Far Hills Florist, and The Flower Man. Financial donations are used to purchase Bibles, food and drinks, supplement the inventory of dresses in hard-to-find sizes and cover other related expenses.

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Contact this contributing writer at PamDillon@woh.rr.com.