Lately, a lot of prom dresses have been appearing outside Danielle Lutz’s door.
“Sometimes I don’t even know who they are from – dresses will just show up,” Lutz said.
While who the dresses are from sometimes remains a mystery the reason Lutz received them isn’t. They are for her non-profit, reWEARable, which collects dresses and accessories for girls who wouldn’t be able to afford them for prom.
ReWEARable – which launched last year – is partnering with Detroit Public Schools this spring and looking to collect at least 500 dresses. There will be an event held a few weeks before prom where girls will be able to come and select a dress to dance the night away in.
“It’s (prom) a special day, it’s not like any other day,” said Lutz, a junior at Groves High School. “And I think that when I get to provide that happiness to those girls – it’s such a good feeling.”
This won’t be the first time Lutz, of Birmingham, has been able to provide girls with prom dresses. During her freshman year of high school, she was told about the Princess Project, a California-based non-profit which provides free prom dresses to high school students. Lutz started collecting dresses, sending about 150 that first year.
As amazing as it felt to know she was doing something for these girls, Lutz wanted to help those a little closer to home.
“I wanted to actually see the change in my own community rather than all the way out in California,” she said.
Last year she partnered with the National Council of Jewish Women and their resale shop in Berkley. They held a small event at the shop with girls coming to select dresses for their proms. Between her freshman and sophomore year, Lutz estimates she’s been able to donate at least 400 dresses.
But still, Lutz wanted to do more.
After discussing with her mom, Beth, about who she wanted to donate dresses to, and reach out to, DPS came up. Lutz said DPS was their number one choice since they are so close to home.
“They needed our help and we wanted to give them help,” Lutz said.
The non-profit will take everything related to prom; dresses, shoes, purses, and jewelry, as long as it’s in good shape. Lutz said they are currently at 200 dresses with plans to continue collecting donations until April.
When Lutz started collecting dresses she never thought she would get as many as she has, but then her mom posted on Facebook about what her daughter was doing.
“I was kind of worried at first,” Lutz said. “When I first started I was like, ‘Mom, we’re barely getting any dresses.’ She was like, ‘Just wait and see.’”
After that Facebook post, the dresses started flooding in from all of her mom’s friends.
Groves also started advertising what she was doing on morning announcements, and now donation boxes can be found at some Birmingham schools.
When asked if she’s been surprised by the success so far she gets silent for a moment.
“Actually, yes,” she said. “Honestly, when I started I did not see myself two-and-a-half years later with my own non-profit doing it myself, with all that responsibility. Now that it’s a reality, it’s really cool.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent