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Reina Prom Committee awards 18 high school students free prom dresses in giveaway

Community of 'Reinas' uplift girls through Prom Giveaway with dresses, makeovers to award for hard work in school
Reina Prom Giveaway
Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-27 20:52:31-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It’s prom season and 18 girls in Tucson are getting that experience at no cost.

Prom dresses alone can cost up to $1000, but thanks to a group known as the “Reinas,” the girls are getting dresses from Hem and Her Bridal as a reward for the hard work they’ve put into their high school careers.

At Hem and Her Bridal, almost every dress is made by the hands of Joyce Feickert.

“It’s just letting them know they’re worth it, letting them know they deserve to look beautiful,” said Feickert.

So when she and her team were asked if they could give any of her dresses to make prom happen for girls in high school, they couldn’t say no.

“To see their smiles and that confidence level rise up to the roof, it’s pretty amazing and it’s an awesome feeling,” said Yissel Mankel, an employee with Hem and Her.

But the prom dresses weren’t the only award for the 18 girls. The Reina Prom Committee puts together an annual prom giveaway. The committee is made up of women, many coming from the southside, who donate their time and skills to give the girls makeovers, style their hair, and uplift them as a “Reinahood.”

The committee started in 2022 after the pandemic.

“We wanted to really come together after COVID," committee founder Selina Barajas said. "A lot of us here felt it was important to provide the prom of their dreams, so we really wanted to give those girls the opportunity. So we had 30 apply. We gave 15 hair, make-up, dresses,” said Barajas.

This year, all 18 girls who applied received prom dresses. Six of those girls were chosen to get a head-to-toe makeover based on their application. Selina Barajas introduced Lucy Pacheco, a senior at Desert View High School on the southside, to the Reinas.

“She has a 4.6 weighted GPA, chills,” Barajas said. She continued to read from her application, quoting Pacheco.

“Throughout much of my academic career in engineering-focused spaces, I am the only female in the room. I want to experience the potential of being fully supported by women in a different focus,” the application read.

Pacheco was chosen to have the opportunity to experience the Reinahood, something she’d like to see in her future career.

“Sometimes I’m the only female in the room when it comes to STEM-related things, whether it’s my calculus class or my precision manufacturing class. And I think seeing the change is kind of being part of the change, so I would like to be part of that change that actually gets to be part of the STEM field and gets to be one of the many women engineers that are out there,” Pacheco said.

The Reina Prom Committee hosted a celebration for Pacheco at the Ambassador Event Center, which is owned by Gabi and Jaime Reyes. Selina Barajas chose which schools were eligible for the prom giveaway based on which were holding their prom at the Ambassador Event Center to encourage more schools to choose small businesses for events like prom.

“We met Selina a few years back, and from the get-go you always see someone that’s thriving and has that big heart, the fact that she loves so much about the Tucson community, it really is someone that attracts to be a part of it,” said Jaime Reyes.

Gabi and Jaime Reyes actually introduced this group of Reinas to Hem and Her Bridal, making it possible to offer each applicant a prom dress.

“They had no problem in doing the 30 dresses. Everyone jumps into it. So I really really like that. And I’m going to keep going until Selina tells me ‘I can’t do it no more,’” said Gabi Reyes.

“I think there’s always going to be another Reina that’s going to come forward and is going to help out with it, so what you saw here is just that. You know, you saw a young little princess who basically presents with such amazing involvement already in her own school. And she’s stepping forward already because of what she wrote, what she believes, and what she is. With the Reina Committee, you can actually see how the support is going to bring her up to the next level,” said Jaime Reyes.

And that’s exactly the impact it’s had on Lucy Pacheco.

“The fact that they were willing to come together to support me along with other Reinas, I think after I graduate I might come back and actually support the other prom giveaway winners,” said Pacheco.

Reyna Preciado is a reporter for KGUN 9, she joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after graduating Arizona State University. Share your story ideas with Reyna by emailing or by connecting on Instagram, or Twitter.