Port St. Lucie teen helps others experience homecoming, prom with dress donation drive

14-year-old collects dresses for families in need

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - It's homecoming season so that means young girls and guys are picking out the right outfit for the special dance.

Some teens and their families can't afford something as simple as a dress. And that's where 14-year -old Kiana Jones is stepping in to make a difference.

"This is one of my personal favorites," said the Port St. Lucie teen, holding up a sparkling gown.

Last school year, Kiana said she noticed several classmates couldn't go to the dances because they couldn't afford a dress. So this school year, she's started her own dress donation drive, collecting gently used and new dresses to give to other students in need.

She's working entirely through a Facebook page that she created on her own to help collect donations and distribute the dresses to girls hoping to find a beautiful dress.

"We're just trying to find ones that they really like, hopefully it can make their day," she said. "I don't want them to miss it or get it ruined... Just because they can't have a dress."

Since launching her effort in August, Kiana has collected nearly 150 dresses and is working to give them away for homecoming and prom this school year. Her mother, Sandra, helps Kiana by personally bringing an assortment of dresses to each girl's home or allowing them to meet at their house to pick out the right dress.

"It makes me feel good knowing that I actually helped them make their day amazing," said Kiana.

The family house is overflowing with dresses and Hurricane Irma almost put a dent in the effort. Their roof sprung a leak and some flood waters made it into their living room.

Still, Kiana said she is pressing on.

"Luckily none of them got damaged. We're just trying to make it through this and find a safe spot for the dresses," said Kiana.

And it's a group effort -- Kiana's mom and dad are helping to clean and press the dresses. They're hoping for partnerships with dry cleaning companies to help with the workload.

"She's a good girl. She loves what she does," said Germaine Jones, Kiana's father. "As long as she knows that we have her back, that's all that matters."

Kiana in dire need of more dress donations to continue her mission and meet the demand from students across St. Lucie County and beyond. She hopes this will encourage other teens to pay it forward.

"Just by doing this, it can become huge and I can inspire other people," she said.

In addition to dresses, Kiana is also need of donations for dress racks and dress bags. Her family is still working on establishing  an official drop off point.

If you would like to donate or find a dress for your child, click here for Kiana's page "We Need Prom Dresses" on Facebook.

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