With a struggling economy, bills piling up and summer on its way, the many expenses of a high school senior prom can be a hassle. But, no need to fret, Operation Pretty and Polished has arrived. This month Operation Pretty and Polished made its debut with over 1100 dresses, which included suits tuxedos, accessories. Gift cards of $150 for hair and make-up were collected to raffle for student giveaways. Several District Salons and barbershops committed their services, allowing radio station WPGC 95.5 FM to give gift cards for $60 to $85 for young ladies, and free haircuts for young men. Inspired by Justine Love, WPGC 95.5 Community and Public Affairs director, OPP kicked off its first event April 18, at 1500 Harry Thomas Way, NE. Since the first was a success State Farm Insurance and WPGC FM did it again on April 26 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. “Part of the issues was because the economy and people were struggling,” said Love. “We wanted to give parents and students our own stimulus package.” Love, with the help of WPGC Promotion and Marketing Director Lori Hall, and State Farm Multicultural Business Development Department Manager, Jackie Johnson, OPP was a major success with a turnout of over 400 students. “Thanks to all of you we were able to accommodate and help them dress for their 2009 high school proms. Their faces were all the thanks I needed to know this was a good thing,” Jackie Johnson said. With weeks of collecting dresses from a collaboration of community, corporations, citizens, law enforcement and Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., celebrating the class of 2009 the young ladies had more than just an option of what to wear. Zips Dry Cleaning also pitched in by cleaning dresses and tuxedos before the event, for free. Students from Banneker, Roosevelt, Dunbar, Moore Academy, Eastern, Central, Largo, and many other high schools were in attendance. Ms Teen DC 2008 Jasmine Alexis was also in attendance to show support. “I was home schooled but I definitely understand the need of a good dress for those important nights,” Alexis said. Some students came alone or with friends but there were many families in attendance. Every student received a number, while WPGC staff and volunteers escorted ten students at a time into the State Farms Insurance garage. But not just any garage, the room was decked out in State Farm rugs, racks of dresses sized for convenience and shelves of shoes and accessories. A State Farm table was set up for insurance information, as well as an WPGC, and ElZol FM tent with more giveaway tickets and games, for the upcoming birthday bash. WPGC personality, Rane was also in attendance keeping the crowd entertained, while they waited in line in 90-degree weather.
“Two months of preparation, I’m tired, but it has been a wonderful success,” said Johnson. “We all deserve a pat on the back.” WPGC looks forward to making this happen again next year.