By Amy Taylor
Leigh Ann Gordon has had a change of heart.
Gordon, a junior history education major at Trevecca, is in the process of collecting used prom dresses for students with disabilities, and this time she is excited about it.
This is the second year she has been involved with The House, Inc. a non-profit organization which sponsors before and after school programs for at risk kids in Washington D.C.
In the programs, students are encouraged to spend their time positively by completing their homework, playing sports, and staying healthy rather than spending their time experimenting with drugs, sex, and gangs.
Gordon can’t imagine spending her free time any other way, but she hasn’t always felt this way.
“I had no desire to do it last year,” Gordon said.
Because the leadership at The House, Inc. are friends of Gordon’s parents, she felt obligated to help last year. However, after collecting dresses, jewelry, and shoes for the students with disabilities and going to D.C. to spend the summer working at the leadership center, Gordon realized that she was exactly where she needed to be.
“I realized that’s something I need. It’s a passion God’s put in my heart,” Gordon said. “It’s something I need to do, and if I don’t do it, it doesn’t feel right.”
Gordon collects gently used formal gowns to distribute to girls who will wear them to what the organization calls The Cinderella Ball. The dance, much like a high school prom, gives disabled students around the Washington, D.C. area the opportunity to attend a dance because the students often do not feel involved in the events at their schools.
“Spring is prom time but not for the largely overlooked group of students who never get to experience that thrill,” Helen McCormick, president and founder of The House, said.
Last year, Gordon made several trips back and forth between Nashville and D.C., dropping off dresses and volunteering at the center.
“That’s what passion does,” McCormick said. “To have a college student with that energy and passion—it’s a perfect fit.”
Gordon is gearing up to raise the profile of her efforts.
She has only collected five dresses so far and was hoping to collect more than the 70 dresses she collected for last year’s event.
“We’re kind of starting off to a slow start, but we’re hoping that’ll change. We’re just taking what we can get,” she said.
In hopes of getting the word out around campus, Gordon sent emails to all the students on campus to let them know about the collection she is taking up. Last year, Gordon spoke during chapel about the Cinderella Ball, and she is thinking about trying that again.
Gordon is not sure exactly why the collection of dresses hasn’t grown as quickly this year as it did last year.
“I think it might be that there’s just more people that don’t live in town or they don’t know enough about it or they don’t like parting with their dresses,” Gordon said. “It’s not as convenient to bring something in, or they forget about it.”
While Gordon’s short-term goal is to collect prom dresses for the students with disabilities, her long-term goal is to widen the scope of people, Trevecca students included, that are a part of The House, Inc.
“It’s for a really good cause, but it’s hard for people to get into when it’s 12 hours away,” she said.
Dresses can be dropped off at the Alumni Relations Office on the first floor of the McClurkan building.