Girls with scarred pasts are thrown perfect prom
KINGDOM CITY — One mid-Missouri non-profit gave girls the prom experience they may not have gotten otherwise Saturday.
Missouri Girls Town aims to provide a safe haven to adolescent girls with a history of neglect or abuse. The girls become a part of the program after being referred through the state. Girls aged 8 to 21 move onto the grounds of Missouri Girls Town, attend alternative school and live together while being provided with care services from counselors and mentors.
The foundation first began in 1953 and was established by the General Federation of Women's Clubs of Missouri. For the past five years the organization has hosted proms to help bring a piece of normalcy to the lives of the adolescent girls.
Director of operations Jenny Preiss helped to coordinate the prom and said it involved a lot of hands.
Woods Chapel United Methodist Church in Lee's Summit provided the prom dresses, The University of Missouri's Kappa Alpha Theta helped style the girls' hair, William Woods' Chi Omega sorority painted the girls' nails and Sisters in Christ First Baptist Church made corsages.
The girls did not just get dressed up for each other, they attended the prom with dates. Members of Beta Theta Pi fraternity from Fulton's Westminster College served as escorts for the night.
While the young women of Missouri Girls Town couldn't control the factors that led them to the group home, Preiss said the staff at Girls Town can control one thing.
"What is in our control is when they're here, providing them the best experience a young kid can have and every girl should have a prom," said Preiss. "So, we give it to them."
The girls of Missouri Girls Town even voted for a prom queen, who was crowned at the dance.
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