Dreams Delivered returns, makes dreams come true once again

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Dresses of all shapes, colors and sizes were available at Dreams Delivered. (Photo by Sam Stroozas.)

As Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” played through a loudspeaker on the second floor of the Evanston Women’s Club, dozens of teenage girls prepared for prom, one of the biggest nights out for high schoolers.

Dreams Delivered kicked off its 15th year on April 10 with hundreds of prom dresses, shoes and accessories, all free to attendees.

In collaboration with the Delta Chi Omega chapter of Alpha Kapa Alpha and volunteers from the Women’s Club, the participants received help from a personal shopper to find their dresses, shoes and jewellery. Volunteer seamstresses provided minor touch-ups and other experts provided make-up and hair advice.

Event co-chair Sheila Best said Dreams Delivered missed 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. So, with a stock of dresses in sizes 0-30 from previous years, they were more than prepared for 2022.

Initially, the event was restricted to low-income students at Evanston Township High School. But Best said the previous rule had the potential to create stigma for attendees, so it’s now open to anyone in need of a prom dress in the Evanston area.

Although Best has been helping out with the event since she became a member of the Women’s Club in 2018, she says she never tires of watching someone find the perfect dress.

“The look on their face when they come down, it’s so beautiful,” she said.

Evanston’s Woman’s Club “Dreams Delivered” event is making hundreds of prom dresses available to high school students. (Photo provided)

Serena Phillips and her mother, Shannon Phillips, decided to participate in Dreams Delivered after Serena’s sister did a few years ago. Serena says she remembers how horny her sister was and since then she’s been counting the days until it’s her turn.

“It’s a very important event because there are people who can’t afford prom dresses, and it’s a great opportunity because everything is there for you,” she said. .

Shannon Phillips said she lost her job due to the COVID-19 pandemic and worried she couldn’t afford a dress after paying over $100 for Serena’s prom ticket.

“We raised the money for the ticket and then Serena told me about the event and I was so excited and now we have everything,” Shannon Phillips said.

Vinita Shahdadpuri told the roundtable that she felt “humbled and grateful” for the experience she was able to share with her daughter Nyssa Shahdadpuri on Sunday afternoon.

Nyssa is attending Northwestern University in the fall and Vinita Shahdadpuri worries about how she might also pay the high price of prom.

“It really helps us because we try to save as much money as possible for college,” she said. “Hopefully next year she can give back and help someone else.”

Rachel Hershinow, owner of Stella Boutique on Central Street, was volunteering as a personal shopper on Sunday. She has been a member of the Women’s Club for nearly a decade and works with Dreams Delivered whenever she gets the chance.

“It’s so wonderful to work with all these young women, it’s empowering and it makes them light up and feel special,” Hershinow said. “It’s so rewarding to see.”

Joyce Okereke waited while her daughter Jackie Okereke tried on a myriad of dresses, finally landing on an embellished lavender maxi dress.

Joyce Okereke said what she enjoyed most about the event was the organization.

Attendees were introduced with their assigned personal shopper and walked through each station with ease, giving them plenty of time to try on several dresses and accessories.

Jackie said for her, finding a prom dress is another thing she doesn’t have to worry about as a senior graduate.

“It was better than I expected, there were a lot of dresses and I’m really excited. It’s less of a thing to think about now.

An aerial view of Dreams Delivered. (Photo by Sam Stroozas.)

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