DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline will hold an event, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," to raise awareness about domestic violence. Students at nine private schools will help by collecting prom dresses during the first two weeks of November to sell at La Pietra in February to benefit the cause. Emily Fukunaga, left, of Punahou, and Alika Ke-Paloma of the University of Hawaii model dresses donated by Attitudes by Debra.
Students are collecting gowns to resell to help fight domestic violence
High-schoolers have found a good use for those used prom dresses stashed away in closets: sell them to help victims of domestic violence.
The public can drop off new or used prom dresses at the following locations:
» Kamehameha Schools: From 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday to Friday, dresses will be collected at the Akahi Student Center.
» Iolani School: From 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, dresses can be dropped off at the main office.
» Hawaii Baptist Academy: From 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, dresses can be dropped of at the school's main office.
» La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls: From 7:50 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 9-10, dresses can be dropped off at the school office.
» Punahou School: From 7 to 8 a.m. Nov. 14 to 18, a curbside drop-off will be available Monday through Thursday in front of the Science Center on Palm Drive, and the Luke Center for Public Service will have a collection site all week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
» Sacred Hearts Academy: From 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 16-17, dresses can be dropped of at the high school's main office.
» St. Francis School: Call 988-4111 for times.
"Most people only use their prom dress once or twice at the most. It's a really good idea," said Elisha Goo, a junior at Hawaii Baptist Academy.
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Goo and nine other students at various private schools on Oahu are collecting used prom dresses for a sale organized by the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline on Feb. 11 at La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls. Proceeds will go to the nonprofit organization and toward raising awareness of domestic violence.
Goo, 16, posted fliers around campus to inform students of the campaign. "It's totally worth all the time and effort put into it," she said.
The other students, from Hawaii Baptist Academy, Iolani School, Kamehameha Schools, La Pietra, Mid-Pacific Institute, Sacred Hearts Academy, Punahou School, St. Andrew's Priory and St. Francis, will also collect dresses from fellow students. The public is invited to drop off dresses at designated schools.
The students' volunteer work will not only go toward helping victims of domestic violence, but will also fulfill their community service credits required for graduation.
"It's not just to fulfill requirements. It feels good to do community service for other people," Goo said.
She and other volunteers from her school are creating posters to place around campus and reminding students of the drop-off dates in the school's bulletin.
Nanci Kreidman, executive director of the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline, said she came up with the idea of a prom dress sale while attending a recent Bridal Expo.
There are still so many people in the community who do not see domestic violence as a community problem, Kreidman said. "It's still a very well-kept secret. ... There is still a lot of embarrassment and a lot of shame."
Along with help from students, Kreidman gained the support of designer Debra Wohlschlegel, owner of Attitudes by Debra, who will be donating a few dozen new beaded, form-fitting dresses for the sale.
Some of Wohlschlegel's dresses, which are sold nationwide, have been worn by actress Lindsay Lohan, 2004 "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino and runner-up Diana DeGarmo, she said. Each dress has a retail value of $370.
"My satisfaction comes from people being happy," said Wohlschlegel, a Nuuanu resident.
A few other retailers will be donating jewelry, bags and other accessories for the February event.
Christen Hirai, a junior at La Pietra, said she passed out fliers to junior and senior students to tell them about dropping off their used prom dresses. Hirai said she wanted to participate in the project to help victims of domestic violence and to learn more about the issue.