By Tara Goldstein  

The Braxton Legacy Foundation, whose mission is to provide resources and services to the disadvantaged,  and the city of Laurel partnered to offer free dresses and suits for Laurel High School student’s 2023 prom. Donations were accepted until April 29 and were then made  available the next day for students

Sierra Jackson, director of Braxton Legacy Foundation,  wanted to give back to the community and help alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with being a senior like prom, graduation pictures and getting a cap and gown.

“I don’t want a child to miss out on that time due to financial issues,” Jackson said. “The fact is, it’s very expensive for parents.” 

Jackson went to Laurel Councilmember Keith Sydnor (Ward 2) with her idea. They coordinated with Laurel High School Principal Michael Dinkins to see if there was a need. Once he confirmed that there was, they sent  a link to students to sign up. Ten boys and 23 girls responded.

Eight out of the 10 boys and 12  of the 23 girls attended the event. Though not everyone left with something, everyone was grateful for the opportunity, and at least seven of the girls left with dresses they loved, according to Syndor. 

One of the best moments for Jackson was watching one girl walk away with a beautiful dress that looked like it was made for her. 

“She tried on her dress and it was like a transformation,” Jackson said. “It really was a wow moment.” 

Jackson said another girl  planned  to donate the dress back after her prom.

The event was a community effort, with multiple organizations and residents assisting. One of the biggest donors was the Delta Sigma Theta county chapter, contributing around 50 dresses. The ​​Top Ladies of Distinction Patuxent River Chapter also was a big help, according to Sydnor, 

“The community really stepped up,” Jackson said. “I just want to thank everyone who contributed and showed up.” 

The remaining dresses will be donated or kept for another event. Both Sydnor and Jackson plan to continue the event in the future.