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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

Dresses for Donation: Key Club and Lucky Ducklings Collaborate on Prom Dress Drive

Summer Hu
From February 12-16th, students donated gently-used formal dresses, suits, accessories, and shoes to the Prom Princess Project. The clothing items will go to teens struggling with poverty around San Diego

Formal’s over and the dress you wore the previous night lays limp on the edge of your bed without a wrinkle in sight — never to be worn again. The Key Club and Lucky Ducklings’ first-ever Post-Formal Prom Princess Dress and Formal Wear drive is here to help. 

From February 12-16, Key Club and Lucky Ducklings collaborated on this drive that will bring teens who may be struggling with poverty and homelessness in San Diego the chance to look and feel their best during a staple of the high school experience: prom. Racks will be available in the garage for donations of all kinds of gently-used formal-wear — from dresses and shoes to suits and accessories.

The drive provided The Princess Project with the dresses and formal wear that will fill the racks of their giveaways and volunteer-run pop-up stores. The Princess Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that, according to their website, has served over 20,000 teens in San Diego.

 The Princess Project giveaways provide formal-wear completely free of charge during the last week of February. Likewise, located in the Borrego Springs, El Cajon, Fallbrook, Malcolm X/Valencia Park, and Vista communities, at ‘pop-up’ stores, teens can have the shopping experience that is associated with prom, starting between late February to March). Key Club President Nirvana Shiwmangal (‘25) said that the pop-up stores allow for “a shopping experience that brings dignity because it can be hard for anyone to admit that ‘I need help,’ let alone say ‘I want to look pretty, but I don’t have the funds to buy an $80 dress.’”

The donated formal-wear will allow for individuals to feel included and, as Lucky Ducklings Leader Adelaide Kessler (‘25) said, “connected with their community.”

[My dresses] have literally been collecting dust in my closet, so it just feels good to know they are going somewhere

— Lucky Ducklings Leader Adelaide Kessler ('25)

“A lot of homeless youth don’t want to be seen as homeless…so it’s really hard for them to feel like they are fitting in. Going through high school is hard enough, but as a homeless teen [or someone struggling with poverty], it’s even more difficult,” Adelaide said. 

Madeline “Maddy” Lane (‘25), the Vice President of Key Club, is the one credited to bringing the idea to Bishop’s. Having worked with the organization for several years now, Maddy discovered The Princess Project while volunteering for The National Charity League (NCL), a mother-daughter philanthropy organization. Now a teen ambassador for the Princess Project, Maddy has volunteered at the organization’s $5 dress sale distribution events and the warehouses in San Diego. Through her volunteering, she’s been able to see the impact of these dresses on the community. “I saw mothers with their daughters and groups of friends making an outing of finding and trying on dresses,” Maddy said, “I know, at least in my experience, shopping can be kind of stressful, but the environment was super kind and encouraging.” 

Madeline “Maddy” Lane is a teen ambassador for The Princess Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that promotes “self-confidence and individual beauty by providing free prom dresses and accessories to high school teens,” according to their website. As a teen ambassador, she has volunteered at their warehouses and pop-up stores, as well as brought the Princess Project’s prom dress drive to Bishop’s with the support of Key Club (which she is the Vice President of) and Lucky Ducklings.
(Madeline Lane )

Looking to bring more visibility to the drive, Key Club decided to partner with Lucky Ducklings, a club that has established a presence on-campus. Both clubs shared a common goal: to promote clothing sustainability while making a difference in another teen’s life.

The Lucky Ducklings Club, the Bishop’s branch of the Lucky Duck Foundation, works to address homelessness in San Diego. With its avid campaigning and a multitude of events, such as the annual spikeball tournament, the Lucky Ducklings quickly made themselves into one of the most prominent service clubs on campus. “On our end, it was the more homelessness aspect of it and aiming to help homeless youth or just youth in poverty that don’t have access to funds for a dress,” said Adelaide. 

Key Club does not have a niche cause like Lucky Ducklings does, but finds its purpose in encouraging student leadership to benefit the local community. Led by Nirvana and Maddy, Key Club, which was brought to Bishop’s in 2021, is part of a larger international service 501(c) nonprofit called Kiwanis International. This service club has organized and volunteered for events like the Junior Olympics, the free concerts Kiwanis puts on for the community, serving pancakes to raise funds for other charities, and the annual uniform collection drive. “We’re kind of everywhere, we do everything. But the main thing is to mostly empower students to get out there and do stuff,” said Nirvana. 

While not focused on one organization or local issue, a big goal of the Bishop’s chapter of Key Club is clothing sustainability. Nirvana first became aware of this problem when she noticed uniforms that were practically in mint condition being discarded. This led to the Key Club’s annual collection drive, which sends old Bishop’s uniforms to schools in other countries that need access to uniforms. The prom dress drive continues this mission by encouraging others to donate formal-wear that they may never use again. “In addition to the self love [and]body positivity side of this philanthropy, there is a large environmental impact of clothing,” said Maddy.

The drive allows for a shopping experience that brings dignity because it can be hard for anyone to admit that ‘I need help,’ let alone say ‘I want to look pretty, but I don’t have the funds to buy an $80 dress’

— Key Club President Nirvana Shiwmangal ('25)

The drive can be a way for students to make a difference in someone’s lives. Adelaide thinks donating “just makes sense” because “sometimes you buy a dress for one night and never wear it again.” She donated several dresses she’s accumulated from dances over the years. “They have literally been collecting dust in my closet, so it just feels good to know they are going somewhere,” she said. 

Dressing up for formal or any dance can make you feel confident and beautiful, so why not give others the chance to feel that way too? “These are wonderful outfits and if you can give them to someone who really needs it, we’re all for that,” Nirvana said.

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About the Contributor
Summer Hu
Summer Hu, Online Editor
Summer is a junior and the Online Editor for The Tower. Previously, she was a story, content, and copy editor. This is her third year on staff and she’s excited to bring new ideas and innovation to the publication. She also started and produces “The Tower’s Two-Knights Show,” the broadcast journalism branch of the publication. Besides journalism, her favorite classes are history and English, where she is free to “dream on” (to quote Aerosmith). When she’s not writing, she likes playing basketball and following the Golden State Warriors, is a die-hard fan of the One Piece anime, and enjoys scouting out new boba places. Her favorite articles often cover campus trends, profiles, and culture.

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