Looking forward to friends, fun and fashion statements, many students eagerly anticipate prom, but for some students the event can create more trepidation than longing.
Enter “Dress To Impress.”
College of the Mainland students in the SO Psyched psychology club on campus suggested the prom clothing drive to collect dresses for those who could not afford them, and the group stepped into action. Collecting dozens of new and gently used dresses, they visited Kidz Harbor, a nonprofit shelter in Liverpool, Texas, to deliver the dresses to the girls there.
The girls were overwhelmed.
“There was one little girl that really touched my heart. It was a very humbling experience to see [her] go from smiling to crying to laughing,” said COM student Melanie Lauret.
As the high school girls selected their dresses, COM students watched and offered encouragement. Kidz Harbor volunteered to have dresses altered if necessary.
“I’m really glad we came up with this club. I love helping people, seeing the smiles on people’s faces,” said Lauret, who plans to go into social work. “This gives me experience.”
United in their desire to give each other and those in the community a helping hand, students and faculty formed the So Psyched club this spring and immediately launched a flurry of activity.
Besides, “Dress to Impress,” the group also recently coordinated a free Prenatal and Early Childhood Health Fair to distribute information and resources to parents. Students received training from the nonprofit Pregnancy and Parenting Support Center in Texas City and manned various booths with giveaways and demonstrations of topics from infant/child CPR to fetal development.

“It was so exciting seeing all the moms. There were a lot of students who stopped by, and a lot of people from the community came with their babies. The babies were so cute,” said student Nidia Valdez, who operated a station explaining to parents how they can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. “I hope we do more activities like that.”
Joining the group about a month ago, Valdez was excited to be a part of an active group on campus.
“I always wanted to be part of club, so I just stopped by. I like it because we do things outside of school,” added Valdez.
The group also recently volunteered to serve at the Salvation Army in Galveston during lunchtime. As people came in, students talked to them and recorded demographic information necessary for the nonprofit’s funding. They also listened to individuals’ stories.
“There were a couple of students crying because they were hearing how people live. They realized there’s not a whole lot of difference between them,” said Lalanya Ennis, faculty sponsor of So Psyched with professor Doug Alvarez. “It made them more empathetic.”
For many students it was an unforgettable experience.
“They were willing to share their stories with me, about mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse issues. It was really eye-opening,” said Karmyn Spino-Chantre, club president. “I’d love to be part of that again.”
Continuing their momentum, the group will host regular meetings, the first and third Thursdays of the month, through the summer.
“We all propose ideas and see who’s interested in it. The group decides if it’s something we’re committed to,”
 said Spino-Chantre. “We’re always welcoming new members.”