Fashion event to help local teens, poor abroad

WELLSBURG – Area teens with tight budgets can find dresses for their homecoming dance or prom while helping handicapped people in other countries to become more mobile, thanks to the efforts of a Brooke High School senior.

Kylie Greathouse has put together for Saturday a homecoming-prom fashion show, with low-cost gowns for sale and drawings for prizes donated by area businesses, with proceeds to benefit the Free Wheelchair Mission.

The Irvine, Calif.-based charity has provided thousands wheelchairs to people with disabilities in impoverished nations.

Greathouse, daughter of Bob and Laura Greathouse of West Liberty, said the cause has been close to her heart since she became involved, along with other pupils at Wellsburg Middle School, in raising $12,500 for the organization.

It was an obvious choice when it came time for her to plan a community service project required of her as an honors student at Brooke. But Greathouse also wanted to do something unique.

“I didn’t want to do an average, run-of-the-mill thing,” she said.

So Greathouse set out to sell used homecoming and prom dresses at prices financially strapped families could afford and feature some in a fashion show that will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Brooke High School’s Cafeteria A, with doors to open at noon.

But she said she didn’t foresee the large number of dresses -173 – that would be donated or the support of area businesses that have donated goods and services for the event.

Greathouse said the dresses are in a variety of sizes and colors and will sell for various prices but as low as $20.

It amounts to major savings as new prom gowns can cost from $200 to $500 or more, she said.

Greathouse said the used dresses are in good condition because “Most girls wear them once, get home (from the dance) and don’t wear them again.”

Twenty of the used gowns will be modeled by students from Brooke, Weir and Weirton Madonna high schools, and 15 new dresses will be worn by models from Jjones Evening Wear of Weirton.

The $3 admission for the event includes a chance in a drawing for gift cards donated by a variety of businesses. For another dollar, teen girls can win a gift package dubbed the Ultimate Prom Experience, which includes a new dress, hairstyling and makeup, a visit to a tanning bed, shoes and jewelry, with a total estimated value of about $700, and all donated by a group of Tupperware vendors.

Greathouse said hairstylists with the Hair Shoppe, Bre’s Tropical Illusions Salon and Unique Design, as well as Legal Hair and Day Spa of Steubenville have offered to provide free haircuts to a limited number of female teens attending.

She added food to be sold during the event will include hot dogs supplied by Sheetz and a cake provided by Gus’s Goodies.

Greathouse said she’s appreciative of the support she’s received from school staff and peers, as news of the event spread through word of mouth and a Facebook page.

“The people of this valley have been so giving,” she said.

Greathouse said she’s pleased the event “will have an impact not only locally but in other parts of the world.”