Roving Reporter | "Every Girl Can Be a Princess: Southern Glam Project Brings Gowns to Rockport" by Jeanette Larson

Allycia Oliver (l) and Ivy Skipper (r)
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Photos by Chelcie Oliver

Prom is one of the highlights of high school and there is probably nothing worse for a girl than not being able to go because she doesn’t have access to a nice dress. On January 4, 16-year-old Allycia Oliver realized that her best friend was not going to the upcoming prom at Golid High School because she didn’t have a dress. Allycia and her mom, Chelcie Oliver, had anticipated this would be a problem and within days the mother/daughter team had gathered a selection of 75 dresses from which Ivy Skipper could pick a dress. Chelcie posted a notice on Facebook asking if anyone had a gown to donate. As Chelcie says, she was jut looking for “one dress for one girl” but got 20 dresses within days. With so many extra dresses, Allycia started the Southern Glam Project and opened it up to any girl who couldn’t afford a prom gown.

"Initially we were trying to do this for girls who couldn't afford a dress, but now we have so many, if anyone wants a dress for prom, please come. It is no longer limited to financial need; it’s available to anyone,” Chelcie said. Goliad ISD held prom this month so the dresses, shoes, and accessories are now available to Rockport girls and other Coastal Bend girls.

Girls can select from more than 350 donated dresses in sizes 0 through 22. The dresses come in a variety of colors and styles, ranging from strapless, to ballgowns and princess styles, with more donations coming in almost daily. There are short and long dresses available and there is something for every size and shape, according to Chelcie. Even if girls already have a dress, they are welcome to look at shoes and jewelry to finish their outfits.

Girls can come anytime, individually or in groups, to look at and try on dresses. Dresses can be put on hold to reserve your gown and you can even change your mind later as more dresses arrive. The gowns are housed in an empty classroom at Goliad High School, which has been transformed into a boutique, complete with dressing areas for trying on the gowns. Girls can come individually or in groups and the school can accommodate after-hours and weekend visits. The gowns are available for a week and are returned to one of the Rockport drop-off sites after prom, which will be held in April in Rockport. Girls can contact Chelcie at 361-205-4721 or message her through the Southern Glam Facebook page to arrange times to check out the dresses.

There was a program in Rockport called Rockport’s Fairy Godmother that provided a similar service for more than six years. According to RFG’s founder, Teresa Hunter, her program has now merged with the Southern Glam Project. Donated dresses can be dropped off at Cooling's Automotive, 310 N Highway 35 (next to the old HEB location). Alternatively, dresses can be taken to Rockport Pool Supply, 2828 N. Highway 35. Donated dresses will be transferred to the boutique set up at Goliad High School.

In Goliad local ladies volunteered to do this for the girls. Chelcie hopes that the project can find local coordinators in every school district in the area. In Rockport, Brooke Elizabeth Palmer is seeking hair stylists and others who can help with hair and makeup before the Rockport prom in April. Brooke is also seeking volunteers to help girls carpool to Goliad to try on dresses. If you can provide carpooling help at any time, or  hair styling, makeup, or photography services on April 28, 2018 contact Brooke via email, Brookieliz1129@gmail.com.

It’s important to emphasize that everything is completely free to the girls. Unlike some projects that require a rental fee, even the dry cleaning after the dress has been worn is covered by the project. Prom gowns are expensive and worn once, so the Southern Glam project also requests donations of gowns. The project also needs donations of hangers and metal clothing racks for 300 dresses, cardboard wardrobe boxes, a large clothing steamer, and cash to pay for the cleaning. Financial donations can be sent to Chelcie Oliver, Box 552, Goliad, 77963 or made through the project’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/TheSouthernGlamProject.  After the last prom of the season, Goliad High School will store the gowns and accessories for next year so that every girl can be a princess on prom night.


Racks of dresses





Lots of colors

Lots of styles


Different lengths


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