Step into Brooke’s Closet
BSM junior Brooke Ferrer is changing the lives of students at Hmong College Prep Academy, one Prom dress at a time.
December 11, 2015
$300 for a dress, $100 an hour for the limo, $50 for dinner. Prom is the most expensive dance of the year. The pressure to attend (and to show up in style) is high at schools like BSM, and many students who show up to the annual affair are able to afford dresses that they deem acceptable for the occasion; however, not all kids are able to spend hundreds of dollars on one night. BSM junior Brooke Ferrer believes that cost shouldn’t dictate whether they experience the American tradition of prom. She is giving the students of Hmong College Prep Academy the chance to find slightly used, beautiful dresses free of charge through her charity: Brooke’s Closet.
As the years of high school pile on, many girls who wear dresses to BSM dances have a large collection of gowns that are only worn once. Ferrer recognized the opportunity to put these neglected dresses to use. “I used to get a lot of dresses from my mom’s friends because all of their daughters are older than me. I started collecting them, and my mom would give them to a friend who gave them to girls who needed dresses,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer turned her mom’s idea to repurpose the clothes into an annual event taking place right before Hmong College Prep Academy’s prom. “The drop off day is once a year before prom, but I collect them throughout the year. I get most of the dresses after homecoming and all of the big dances at this school,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer equips the students with more than just the dresses they will need for the big day. Jewelry, purses and money for tickets are also available free of charge for the students. “We collected over $500 for tickets because if they can’t afford a dress they most likely can’t afford tickets, and shoes, and a lot of purses,” Ferrer said.
By the time last year’s charity event arrived, Ferrer had collected close to 200 dresses, jewelry, purses, and even a few tuxedos, but with an overwhelming amount of clothes and one day to pull off the event, everything takes a lot of preparation. “I had about 5 people from the school unload everything and set it all up, and a couple people helped all the kids and made sure it was orderly. It took quite a few people to get it running,” Ferrer said.
After the dresses are collected, the racks are set up, and everything looks as close to perfect as it can be, the real importance of the day begins: students are able to select their ideal prom outfits. “I help them pick out their favorite dress and it’s really fun to see them get excited when they find a dress that they love,” Ferrer said.
Some of the dresses that are donated to Ferrer are from the most recognized and respected clothing brands. “One girl from Minnetonka donated a Prada dress, which is super expensive, and when a girl tried it on she was so excited,” Ferrer said.
Despite the stunning labels that have been donated to Ferrer, the real importance of the occasion isn’t whether or not the dress is a designer brand, but the experience that Ferrer can give the students. “I think everyone should be able to experience a typical high school dance, because we won’t be able to do high school dances anywhere else. Everyone deserves the experience, no matter what their economic circumstances are,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer hasn’t started the event for any personal gain beyond seeing how her hard work impacts the lives of other high school students. Ferrer’s work is purely for the benefit of others; she doesn’t keep any of the money or items that are donated. “She is very organized, and has a big network that is willing to donate things for her charity. Her payoff is seeing how happy the kids––especially the girls who get the dresses––are. It makes all the hard work worth it,” Mrs. Tiffany Ferrer, Brooke’s mother, said.
Many students at BSM have clothes that have been sitting in closets for far too long. The dresses, accessories, and even suits or tuxedos that are in good condition, but not being put to use, can be donated to Brooke’s Closet. “You can just talk to me and hand them to me one day after school, or you can Facebook message me or email me,” Ferrer said.