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Needy Students Get Free Prom Dresses

More than 200 teenage girls in San Diego whose families are struggling economically got free prom dresses over the weekend. Its part of an outreach campaign that comes just as the high school prom season gets underway. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

A group of bright-eyed teenage girls enters a downtown office space converted into temporary fashion boutique. Prom dresses in every color of the rainbow hang from dozens of racks.

The high school students going through those racks are either homeless or their families are barely scrapping by.

That's where the Princess Project steps in. Each girl gets to pick her very own free prom dress from more than 1,000 donated gowns.

Seventeen-year-old Dawn Horton picked a bright blue strapless number. Dawn used to be homeless. Now she shares a studio apartment with her mom and relatives.

This is the first formal dress Dawn can call her own.

“I skateboard and I do a lot of 'boy stuff,' Horton said. “And, like, I put on the dress and I just felt like a girl. I felt more girlie, more confident. My mom would be so happy that I put a dress on!”

Organizers say the effort is all about boosting self esteem.

This was San Diego's first Princess Project event.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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