Nonprofit gifts Tulare County students an ‘Enchanted’ prom

High school students of Tulare County can pick out their perfect prom dress through Enchanted Evening Prom Dress Event, designed for students who may not be able to afford a dress

(Rigo Moran)
Karis Caddell
Published March 21, 2024  • 
12:00 pm

TULARE COUNTY – High school students who might not have access to a dress for prom this year have an opportunity to get their enchanted evening through a local nonprofit, which assigns students a “fairy godmother” to help them prepare for prom by finding them their dream dress.

The Tulare County nonprofit Enchanted Evening is hosting their 14th annual Enchanted Evening Prom Dress Event on April 13, where Tulare County high school students can find a dress that’s to their liking. The event will be held in Visalia at the Wyndham Hotel from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Students can sign up for the Enchanted Evening event through a signup sheet at their school. Enchanted Evening has dresses for students sizes 0-30, to make sure everyone feels great at prom.

“Our goal is to make the students feel loved and special,” Fonseca said. “I just can’t even tell you how blessed I am to be a part of it.” 

The event is meant to make students who otherwise might not be able to afford a dress feel beautiful for their junior and senior prom. The organization assigns every student a volunteer to act as a “Personal shopper” to look through the dresses and help them find their perfect dress. Enchanted Evening is still looking for volunteers until April 10, to help students during the event.

“For women (who want) to sign up, we want women who will love on students and make them feel special,” Fonseca said.

She continued to explain some of the ways they make students feel special is by treating the students well, providing jewelry or a purse for prom, as well as being size-inclusive.

“It’s very hard to have maybe 100/200 dresses in size five, and only six or seven dresses in a size 18 to 20. We don’t want (anyone) to feel left out or that they’re not special so we do go and buy the dresses,” Fonseca said. 

Enchanted Evening spends the whole year preparing for the event by collecting dresses and making sure they have an adequate number of dresses of all sizes for the students to choose from. Most of the donated dresses happen to be smaller sizes so the volunteers keep an eye out during the year for affordable dresses in larger sizes.

“For the most part, they’re all donated. We also went to David’s Bridal and looked on their clearance rack and were able to pick up 22 dresses,” Fonseca said. “Since last year’s event, I have collected over 200 donated dresses.” 

She explained that over the years, the nonprofit has collected around 1,000 dresses to use for the event. The dresses spend most of the year in storage units paid for by Enchanted Evening in preparation for prom season. Fonseca explained that they spend, on average, $3,500 on storage units every year.

Those who wish to donate dresses can drop them off at any Central Valley Credit Union location in Tulare County. Those looking to donate dresses, volunteer, or learn more about the program, contact Enchanted Evening via phone at 559-303-1427, email at enchantedeveningdress@gmail.com, website at www.enchantedeveningdress.com and Instagram at @enchantedeveningdress.

Karis Caddell