Proviso Township students peruse the offerings of free dresses, shoes and accessories at the Best of Proviso Township Glam Squad's 2019 event. This year's event will be held on March 29 at 1 p.m. at Canvas Junk Art & Cafe, 1115 Madison St. in Maywood. | Photo provided

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Founded in 2017, the Best of Proviso Township Glam Squad has been making students’ prom dreams come to life by providing dresses, accessories and boutique services. For free.

Proviso East alumni Rajeska Jackson and Marie Dennis are not just friends; they’re partners who have come together to make sure that anyone who wants to go to prom won’t be stopped by not being able to afford the attire. They collect donations all year long to set up a free boutique right before prom season, offering dresses, shoes, purses and jewelry as well as hair, nail, and makeup services.

This year’s event will be on March 29 at 1 p.m. at Canvas Junk Art & Café, a sip and paint studio in Maywood at 1115 Madison St.

The theme? “She said ‘Yes’ to the dress.”

For the 2020 prom season, Jackson and Dennis are looking specifically for the following: prom dresses, either new or used, especially larger ones in size 12 and up; makeup artists, hair stylists and nail techs willing to donate their time; bottled water for students and volunteers.

“Donated dresses don’t necessarily need to be fancy,” said Dennis, who recalled a student in a previous year adding tulle to an otherwise plain dress to make it exciting enough for prom. “Some of the girls are really creative,” she added.

This year they’re also looking for sponsors, people who are willing and able to provide everything one student needs for prom, from the dress to the shoes to the makeup. It could even include paying for the prom ticket itself or providing limo service for the student.

“It’s basically sponsoring a senior,” said Dennis. “And it would be more hands on, going to the store and shopping with the student you’re sponsoring.”

But she added that even if you can’t afford to sponsor someone, a donation of any amount helps. Donations are accepted at paypal.me/BestofPT.

“It takes a community to raise a child,” added Dennis.

Ask Dress Boutique in suburban Shorewood donated 10 new dresses, and Jackson and Dennis would welcome donations from other local boutiques.

“We want to make sure there’s something for everyone who comes by,” said Jackson.

Last year, Jackson said 10 girls benefited from the Glam Squad’s prom efforts, but she expects – and wants – more this year.

“It’s the first year that we’ve had parents reach out to us saying, ‘I need help.’ We want people to know this is what we’re doing. If you’re a child who needs these services or a parent of a child who does, we’re here,” said Jackson.

Dennis and Jackson said they’re inspired by the Glass Slipper Project, a Chicago-based program that collects prom dresses and accessories and provides them, free of charge, to high school juniors and seniors who can’t afford their own prom attire. According to the project’s website, since 1999 they have “helped more than 20,000 young women attend their proms in style.”

Anyone with questions or wanting to donate can reach Jackson at 708-790-1939 or Dennis at 708-299-3861.