The SOS Gradwear program has been in existence for many years, but when 12 Ballenas Secondary students came to experience it first hand last month, they were pleasantly surprised.
“The quality of the dresses was so incredible. Most of them were brand new, which really surprised me,” said Grade 12 student Lynnsay Scollon.
The 12 students were models in the 2018 Ballenas Secondary School (BSS) Grad Fashion Show in April. Gabriel Dodd, another student model, was so impressed, he purchased his outfit. “I thought they were fantastic. (I had) great help choosing and finding sizes, and (it was) super affordable for a suit that I really love.”
The SOS Gradwear Program started 13 years ago. It is for local youth, providing new and gently used outfits to wear to graduation ceremonies for $5, including shoes and accessories.
Liz Munro was chairperson for the 2018 BSS Grad Fashion Show, and she said students loved the idea of being able to model the suits and gowns.
“These are the clothes that really make graduation feel so real to the students as they prepare for their own commencement and prom,” she said. “The students were amazed with the choice and quality of outfits that they were able to model. A number of them did express that they wished that they had known more about the program sooner.”
This year SOS is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the community, and the Gradwear program will be celebrated throughout the month of May. Grads and their dates can drop in to the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville between 1:30 and 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for a chance to win their outfits, plus prizes such as local hair and aesthetic services.
SOS is still accepting donations of gowns, dresses, tuxes, suits, shoes and accessories for this program (year-round). Bring them by the SOS Community Services Centre in Parksville, located at 245 West Hirst Ave., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.