Soroptimist sponsored S clubs are accepting donations of prom dresses, tuxedos, suits, ties, shoes, makeup and jewelry accessories to restock the prom closet. Donations can be dropped off to Lisete Silva at the law offices at 303 I St. or the offices at Los Banos and Pacheco High Schools. Donations will be accepted until Feb. 16.

This year’s event will be held in the Los Banos High School multipurpose room from Feb. 21 through 23. The prom closet is open after school from 4 to 6 p.m. It is a joint event with Pacheco High and is open to all high school students in the Los Banos Unified School District to include San Luis High School. Students can shop at the prom closet where they might find the perfect outfit or accessory to help make their prom experience magical, special and memorable.

The mission of the prom closet is to offer new and gently used formal wear along with many more accessories to get students looking their best and to make attending prom more affordable. There is no charge for any items.

Beyond being mere clothing, a prom dress and other formal wear hold a profound significance for the milestone moments and dreams in the life changing journey from adolescence to adulthood.

Whether it is prom night, a quinceanera or other coming of age celebrations or rites of passage, what is worn is an essential and important component of the event. The choice of a prom dress or other formal attire is a big decision since it represents an individual’s uniqueness and personality.

A prom dress is not just an outfit. The charm of a prom dress builds confidence, making the wearer feel truly loved and beautiful. Students care deeply about prom because it is a pivotal moment in their lives. It allows them to showcase their personal style, feel extraordinary, and create cherished and unforgettable memories with friends.

A prom is an uplifting experience that marks the approaching end to high school and stepping into adulthood, into reality.

Soroptimist member and Los Banos High S club advisor, Lisete Silva, gave an overview of this venture. She said, “I’m proud of how far this event has come and hope it remains strong for years to come. When I first started all we had was formal dresses. Over the years the closet has expanded to include dresses, formal wear (shirts, ties, slacks) suits, jackets, shoes and accessories.

“At the event we also raffle off free hair, nail and makeup sessions and provide vouchers for dry cleaning (we have had a good relationship with Johnnies Cleaners for years now as they offer discounted dry cleaning for this event).”

Lisete has been involved with the event since 2017 and added some additional comments on its history.

“I honestly don’t know how long it was around before then,” she said. “It has changed names over the years from the Cinderella Project to Say Yes to the Dress and now to Prom Closet. We wanted to move away from the assumptions that came from calling it Cinderella Project and wanted the event to be open to both boys and girls, so the members have evolved the name to be more inclusive.”

According to Soroptimist member and Pacheco High School S club advisor, Deborah Todd, “S-club is so excited to see everyone come down and view all the formal wear for this year’s prom. This is a great opportunity for anyone who is starting to look or needs anything for prom.”

Over the years, Soroptimist and S club members have put in many hours and resources into making the prom closet into such a great event for high school students in our community.

High school students pose for a photo with their new outfits.

Sandy Lemas

Sandy Lemas is a longtime resident of Los Banos who has volunteered much of her time to community service. She will be writing a regular column on volunteers and volunteer organizations that help their community.