This weekend's Prom Dress Exchange offers hundreds of prom dresses for just $10

Prom is an important part of teenage life -- and also a costly one. Saturday's Prom Dress Exchange, in the suite level inside Dick's Sporting Goods Park, wants to change that. Headed up by Prom Dress Exchange coordinator Laura Bauer, a handful of volunteer seamstresses and helpers will organize hundreds of dresses, shoes, purses and accessories so that students can shop for an outfit -- then purchase it for a single donation of $10.

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Boys, too, can come and browse a selection of men's items -- one that Bauer hopes to see expand. "This year we'll have a separate area with a limited amount of men's formal wear, but I would really like to see that grow. I really hope as we grow overall, more companies get involved with different aspects," says Bauer.

Maggiano's has again donated gift certificates, she notes, and she's hoping for even more participation from restaurants and other services that can ease the cost of the big night. "I'd like to see a limo company step up, maybe a hair salon. I'm still waiting for that big corporate sponsor to come along and offer to pay for a school's prom," says the optimistic Bauer.

But this year has still seen some serious support -- including the donation of a functioning and fully maintained website for the organization, which just became an official non-profit. Local web designer and small business consultant Communications for Your Business offered to help Prom Dress Exchange create a stronger web presence, helping to publicize its mission. You can also donate to Prom Dress Exchange through the website, helping to offset the cost of this weekend's event space and storage.

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And inventory has bulked up, thanks to new drop-off locations in Highlands Ranch and at Kipling and Bowles, and the donation of brand-new apparel from local shops. "Marie James Dress Boutique donated 100 dresses that have never even been worn, price tags still on them -- they are normally $200 to $400," says Bauer. "Hollywood Cowgirl donated 'bling' and that's something else that's really cool -- not only do the kids get an outfit, they get accessories. We're going to have an accessory room this year, and they can pick up a pair of shoes, jewelry, a purse, everything. They can get fully outfitted for the one low donation price of $10."

If kids can't come up with $10, though, they can still get what they need -- just by showing a student I.D. "The beauty of it is, if they don't have it, we don't turn them away," Bauer says.

As in previous years, fitting rooms will be available for try-ons, and volunteers will be available to help with fittings; seamstresses will be on hand to do minor alterations.

This year's Prom Dress Exchange goes down tomorrow, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the suite level of Dick's, 6000 Victory Way in Commerce City. For more information,, visit the Prom Dress Exchange's website.

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