“Dress Giveaway Helps Poor Kids Achieve Prom.” By Karen Grigsby Bates. Weekend Edition Saturday/National Public Radio. May 21, 2011. The high-school prom is a costly American rite of passage. Most kids consider it a must, but prom is out of reach for many students from poor families. Recently, the Assistance League of Los Angeles held its annual prom dress giveaway, a reward to girls from poor or homeless families for their high academic achievement despite the odds. It’s not the apex of their lives; it’s a payoff for their hard work and a gentle encouragement to stick to their goals. NPR’s Karen Grigsby Bates attended the giveaway. It’s the season for the prom, a ritual that seems to get more expensive each year. NPR’s Karen Grigsby Bates recently visited a group of young ladies in Southern California who were getting ready for their Cinderella moment courtesy of some real-life fairy godmothers. Most weeks, this dressing room at the Assistance League of Southern California is filled with low-income, elementary school-aged children. They come to be fitted with free clothes and shoes, courtesy of a local nonprofit. But for one special day each year, it’s all about prom. And, says Goodman, while the dresses may look like mere special event clothes, they’re really much more than that. They’re rewards for girls who have excelled, despite extraordinary challenges.