Thanks to the efforts of several West Valley Rotary Clubs, young boys and girls throughout the area will be able to attend their high school prom this spring without having to spend a single penny on purchasing needed attire.
Beginning at the end of March and continuing through the second weekend in April, The Prom Closet – a project spearheaded by the Peoria North Rotary Club -- will provide formal prom attire to boys and girls at absolutely no charge.
This year’s Prom Closet takes place 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday over three weekends: March 24-25, March 31 and April 7-8. The Prom Closet will be closed Easter Sunday, April 1.
The event takes place at Landmark Elementary School, 5730 W. Myrtle Ave., in downtown Glendale.
All high school teens are invited. There are no financial requirements and no application to be completed. All items are available at absolutely no cost.
The Prom Closet has thousands of formal prom dresses to choose from, as well as shoes and accessories. In addition to women’s clothing, the program provides men’s shirts, slacks, shoes and ties.
The program was initially created several years ago by Mary Ann Baker, a founding member and past president of the Peoria North Rotary Club. The Peoria club assumed total oversight of The Prom Closet last year and is supported by volunteer Rotarians from Sun City, Glendale, Surprise and Phoenix.
“It’s really grown into a community-wide project,” said Donnis Deever, a member of Peoria North Rotary Club and chair of this year’s project.
“Not only do we have Rotarians from throughout the Valley, but we have many other residents who have joined on as volunteers – many of whom felt the impact of the program when their sons or daughters visited The Prom Closet in the past.”
There are no reservations needed, however, there may be a short wait depending on the amount of people in attendance. Rotary volunteers accompany students individually through The Prom Closet to assist them with their selections.
Formal attire is only available to students.
The event has steadily grown over the years as word continues to spread. Last year, nearly 300 students from 70 high schools were served over a two-week span.
“We had several students come from as far away as Winslow,” said Ms. Deever.
A local merchant donated a vacant store front last year just two weeks prior to the start of the program. The Glendale Unified School District is donating its gym at Landmark this year, which will enable the club to expand The Prom Closet to three weekends.
Volunteers, too, are needed and welcome. Maura Gill, a member of the Downtown Social Club of Phoenix 100 Rotary Club, said volunteers are needed not only to help students select their formal attire, but to help with registration, set-up, steaming clothes and more.
“We have short, four-hour shifts and we’ll find a role for anyone who wants to help,” said Ms. Gill.
Rotary is an international service club with members throughout the world. Eliminating polio is a major focus of the organization, but other efforts include improving literacy, providing sustainable fresh water and helping those in need.
“Rotary’s motto is ‘service above self,’ and we think The Prom Closet lives up to that credo about as well as anything we can do,” said Adam Carlat, president of the Peoria North Rotary Club.
All items – from the dresses to sport coats to shoes – have been donated to the club over the years. Donations are currently accepted 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at Landmark Elementary School.
“People will hear about the project on TV or from friends and actually bring us more items during the weekends we host the event,” said Mr. Carlat.
Ms. Deever can be reached at For more information, visit