WILLIAMSON — Cinderella couldn’t have attended the ball without her Prince Charming, and the same goes for most young ladies when their thoughts turn to the senior prom.
With the decline in our local economy that has left numerous families without the income they had depended on for support, several female and male students have found themselves unable to pay for the items necessary to attend a prom. That’s when Williamson Memorial Hospital’s (WMH) “Nurse of the Year” April Toler-Mullins, aka “Fairy Godmother”, steps in to lend a helping hand. Although she doesn’t have a magic wand to wave, she has the will to accomplish her goal.
Mullins has spearheaded several WMH community fundraisers including a Christmas Toy Drive that provided presents for over 750 area youth. She is now the driving force behind a “Prom Makeover” event that will provide a fairy tale experience for approximately 50 area female students and has now added another branch to the fundraising tree that will hopefully allow male students to also attend the prom in style.
“We were approached by a teacher at one of our high schools, asking if we were going to be able to help the boys afford tuxedo rentals since we were already working toward getting donations of prom dresses, shoes, jewelry and flowers for the girls who find themselves in financial need,” stated Mullins. “Since tuxedos are a rental item and not something that is typically bought, we have embarked on a mission to get monetary donations from sponsors that will be used to pay the majority of the rental fee.”
“I spoke with the manager of Magic Mart and he gave us a price for a basic tuxedo rental that looks really nice. He has agreed to give a 10 percent discount off of that price, and we’re asking local businesses, organizations and caring individuals to agree to donate $50 or more toward one rental that will only leave a very minimal balance, if any, for the student to pay.”
Mullins told the Daily News that she has been overwhelmed with gratitude for those who have donated dresses and other items for the female students, but stated that she is still a long way from being close to having enough to provide for everyone.
“We are asking that anyone who has a prom gown, jewelry, shoes or flower bouquets that they’re willing to donate to please contact me at the hospital or drop it by the third floor nursing station and my co-workers will make sure it gets to me,” said Mullins. “You can also drop the items off at the Williamson Daily News on 2nd Ave. in Williamson. If you are a beautician or a nail technician who would like to donate your time to help us with the makeovers, we would greatly appreciate it!”
Mullins commented that when she had the original idea of collecting prom dresses, there were many other items and accessories that are needed to complete the makeovers that were thought of later, and that fact has sent her and her volunteers scrambling to try to gather everything needed to make the proms at Mingo Central High School (April 27th) and Tug Valley High School (May 7th) an enchanted evening.
“We have two beauticians that have volunteered their time to do makeup and hair but we have several girls that need makeovers, so I’m optimistic we can get others to help,” remarked Mullins. “It is for a great cause and everyone that helps will head home knowing they played a part in making dreams come true.”
“If you can possibly afford to help us out with a monetary donation to use toward the tuxedo rentals and other items we have not had donated, please call me at 304-784-4459 or 304-475-3551. You may also contact Jacqueline Atkins at 304-899-6104 or Sally Irick at 606-456-4254.”
“Your assistance with the Cinderella and Prince Charming Projects will place a smile on the face of a teenager that will never be forgotten. None of us have any guarantee that we’re not going to find ourselves in need of help one day, so it’s wonderful to pay a good deed forward when we can. These kids didn’t ask to be in financial need and a lot of their parents are in tight spots because of the loss of a job. We as a community need to take care of our own, we need to join together and make a prom night to remember for these deserving teenagers,” concluded Mullins. “Let them see that our hearts are in the right place and that we care about them and their needs.”