Retailing and Consumer Science Alumni Melissa Renteria shares her story of the project she initiated to help impoverished students:
I heard about the Flowing Wells High School fashion club and their prom dress collecting project through my classmate's presentation in RCSC 384, taught by Norton School Faculty Felicia Frontain last fall. The team from that class worked closely with the fashion club, and as a retail student, I really appreciated how innovative and creative the FWHS students were. I also worked with FWHS personally creating an 'Everything Drive' with my group in RCSC 384. We donated canned goods, perishable food items, and toiletries. The more involved I became with FWHS, the more I learned and realized how easy it is to help my community. When my boss Guillian, also known as GiGi, a graduate from the RCSC Master’s program and owner of GiGi Bridal (www.gigibridal.com), shared that she had inventory she needed to clear out, I immediately thought of FWHS and their dedicated Fashion Club.
Guillian donated a total of 16 dresses. All were of the brand Pronovias, which is a leading company in the bridal fashion industry, and some even retailed for about $2500 or more.
Because the gowns were so extravagant and had a lot of material, my friend Jennifer Desjardins helped me transfer the dresses to my car and my friend Josh helped me deliver them to FWHS.
Delivering the dresses was the best part. Their fashion professor, Kimberly Lloyd, was ecstatic, along with the students, who ate lunch in their classroom because they were so excited for the dresses to arrive they didn't want to miss it. Kimberly let me know that the dresses will further the education of the students because now she can teach them of higher quality materials and they will be able to actually touch it and make beautiful articles of clothing with it. The Fashion Club also hosts fashion shows, and the advanced fashion students remake a donated dress each year as part of their final presentation, and now we have provided them with enough dresses for years to come.
All of this was possible thanks to my education a the University of Arizona and my RCSC 384 class, where I learned the importance of helping my community, and of course, thanks to Guillian for being extremely generous.
I felt extremely humbled to simply be the liaison between GiGi and FWHS, and I will forever take this wonderful experience with me in all of my future endeavors.
NOTE: Guillian Ochoa Bon owns GiGi Bridal (www.gigibridal.com) in La Encantada in Tucson, Arizona and is a graduate from the Retailing and Consumer Science Master’s program for Family and Consumer Sciences.
Flowing Wells High School is the poorest high school in Tucson and one of the three poorest in AZ. They have an award-winning fashion program headed up by Kimberly Loyd. She has received numerous accolades for her work at FWHS. The fashion students at FWHS collect prom dresses every year, refurbish them or remake them to be contemporary. They then offer them to any girl at FWHS who would like to attend the prom but cannot afford a dress.
Melissa, Jennifer, and Josh are recent graduates from The University of Arizona where they received a Bachelor's of Science in Retailing and Consumer Science in May 2016. Melissa is currently a Sales Manager Trainee at Macy's with the Executive Development Program.