The L.A. Clippers Foundation opened the doors to the grand ballroom of the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Inglewood for 120 young women from various high schools to be treated to a free prom dress, hair and makeup, a pair of shoes, an evening bag and matching accessories for their ideal prom experience.
“It seems like the perfect way to end Women’s History Month,” Gillian Zucker, President of the L.A. Clippers, said. “It’s really teaching them about the idea that sometimes it just takes a dress or some earrings, the right accessories to make you feel like you can accomplish anything.”
The young women from underserved neighborhoods had access to racks of prom dresses, shoes, tables filled with evening bags, accessories and all of it for free. Tamani Baker, a senior at George Washington Preparatory High School, shared that if it had not been for this opportunity to receive a free prom dress, she would not be attending her senior prom simply because her family could not afford it.
“For me to receive a prom dress, it makes me feel like all my dreams are coming true,” Baker said. “I just want to give a big thanks to the L.A. Clippers and the foundation for donating these dresses and shoes.”
Baker is a member of the Brotherhood Crusade, one of the many community organizations the Clippers Foundation partnered with to bring this event together. Other participants included the Boys & Girls Club, I Have A Dream Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Locke High School, Animo College Prep, Animo Inglewood Charter High School, Inglewood High School, Animo Leadership Charter High School, Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters and College Track.
Fox Sports broadcaster Kristina Pink, who covers the Clippers, was the host of the day’s activities. She introduced Zucker, who addressed the young ladies. The Clippers Spirit dancers followed up with a runway show, as they modeled some of the prom dresses available.
“I love to see women in this environment, working together, sharing this experience and I want everyone to look amazing for their prom,” Pink said.
The program went beyond just the glitz and glam, Pink emphasized in her speech the importance of confidence, healthy lifestyles, self-esteem and striving for their goals. At the end of the program, there were simple instructions given.
“Don’t run,” Fox Sports broadcaster Kristina Pink said.
With that, the young ladies took to the ballroom floor, with the assistance of volunteers from City National Bank and the Clippers organization. Each young lady had a tailor-made experience as they found their dress.
The prom dress giveaway was started by Jada Paul, wife of Chris Paul, former Clippers point guard. Paul is now a member of the Houston Rockets after being traded last offseason. Upon the Paul’s departure, the Clippers Foundation continued the efforts set forth by the Chris Paul Foundation. The giveaway was the culminating event for the Clippers’ Women’s History Month initiatives.
The Clippers have hosted several events geared towards young women during Women’s History Month, including two coding clinics for girls, a girls basketball clinic, a mentorship event giving young women hands-on experience and exposure to medical careers, a movie screening for girls and a women’s breakfast for female employees.