SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) – In a part of Indiana that often gets a bad reputation, one Scott County group is helping high school girls go to prom when they think they can't afford it.

“I was worried you know because I don't have money and I would see all these girls posting previews of their dress,” Austin High School Senior Kasey Brandenburg said.

Brandenburg never thought she would have the “prom” experience. Life hasn't always been easy for her.

“Both my parents died and I lived with my grandparents. Then I moved out of my grandma's when I was 16 going on 17, so I've just been on my own,” Brandenburg said.

But then she was introduced to Blessings For Prom.

“It was just an amazing experience because they make you feel beautiful,” she said.

Brandenburg has been blessed by the program since she was a freshman.

The one-day event this year is March 3. 

“They're greeted by a personal shopper and that shopper helps them select three or four dresses to try on and obviously they can try on more if they can't find the perfect dress,” founder Mandy Petersen said.

Petersen started Blessings for Prom four years ago in memory of her grandmother, who worked as a coach, teacher and counselor in Austin for over 40 years.

At the event, girls also have a chance to pick out shoes and jewelry, get free alterations and take home a devotional book.

“When they leave we also want them to know that God's going to go with them. That was their day with me, but when they leave He will guide them along the way,” volunteer Kelly Stagnolia said.

This year there will be over 500 dresses to choose from.

“My goal is whenever they come ... to be sure they have a wide selection of being able to pick that perfect dress because everyone has a different personality,” Petersen said.

And for girls feeling self-conscious about having to ask for help, all volunteers sign a confidentiality waiver.

“You still have pride even though you need that gift, so we take that very seriously,” Stagnolia said.

Just as seriously as making the girls feel loved.

“You're hoping that those little seeds are planted and those girls know how special they are, how beautiful they are and how deserving they are,” Stagnolia said.

Organizers encourage girls to register so that they have enough shoes and dresses for each girl’s size. The last day to register is Feb. 23, however walk-ins are always welcome. You can register by going to the group’s Facebook page.

Blessings for Prom will be held March 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jayce Ray Stallings Youth Center in Austin.

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