The Northeast community station of the Los Angeles Police Department is collecting recycled dresses, shoes, clutch bags and jewelry to donate to students at Eagle Rock High School and Franklin High School who wish to attend prom night this year but may not be able to because of financial constraints.
This is the first time that the Northeast station has come up with such a program, which has already raised well over 200 dresses, according to Genevieve Bravo, a crime and intelligence analyst at the station’s Crime Analysis Detail who helps manage the Northeast Area LAPD Facebook page.
“We’re looking for different sizes and styles,” says Bravo. “We just want to make it fun for the girls.”
The collection drive is called Northeast Prom Sweets because to qualify for the program every student must bring an unopened box of cookies, which will be sent to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“We’re trying to instill the practice of giving back to the community,” Bravo said.
Most of the dresses collected so far are from people in the community, although employees at the station have also donated some dresses, Bravo said.
“People who don’t even live in the community are coming in and dropping off dresses because they heard about it through their relatives or friends,” she said.
Bravo posted messages about the prom-dress drive on the LAPD Northeast Area Facebook page and also got in touch with people she knows in different government agencies.
“The Glendale Police Department helped us out a lot,” she said. “We picked up about 20 dresses from them.”
The program is the brainchild of Bravo and Eagle Rock’s new Senior Lead Officer, Nina Preciado.
“Last year, a friend of mine did it for Wilson High School and I helped her collect about 20 dresses from the girls [female officers] who work here at Northeast,” said Bravo, explaining how she got the idea for the Northeast Prom Sweets.
“So Nina and I thought it would be fun to do this next year for our community. As time passed and the proms were coming closer, we got the captain’s approval and went with it.”
This year, the dresses are meant only for Franklin High School, whose proms are scheduled on April 13, and Eagle Rock High, whose proms are on May 11. Next year, Bravo hopes to expand the program to include other schools in the area.
“It’s the pilot program year and we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves,” said Bravo. “We wanted to start small so that we can learn as we go along—we’ll see what we did wrong or what we could have done better.”
A “boutique day” will be set up at the Northeast station, where students can find all the donated dresses by sizes. They can try them out in dressing rooms, which will be arranged by Sir Michael’s Party Rentals, Bravo said.
Once students get their dresses, they’ll have the option of choosing a pair of donated shoes, if possible. “We’re trying to collect as many shoes as possible,” said Bravo, adding: “We’re not getting as many shoes as we’d like—we’ve been focusing more on dresses, but whatever we can get we’ll take.”
Students get to keep whatever they take from the collection. “It’d be nice if they want to give it back for next year, but they don’t have to,” said Bravo. “I know that when you’re that age you kind of want to hold on to things.”
The LAPD Northeast Community Station is located at 3353 N. San Fernando Road. For further information about the Northeast Prom Sweets, contact Genevieve Bravo at (323) 344-5715 or e-mail her at N4315@lapd.lacity.org.