Forever 9 by Love Carissa was added in May of 2022. Carissa was 9 years old when she tragically drowned in a river in Maine while swimming with several adults. She did not have a life jacket on. On May 4, 2022 Carissa would have turned sweet 16. She would have been interested in dancing driving, prom, winter carnival, and all the things teenage girls LOVE! Her mother is a single mother and would have struggled to afford the perfect dress that Carissa would’ve chosen. Knowing Carissa as we did, she would have picked something less appealing to her to alleviate the financial strain on her mother, or pretended that that event did not interest her. Passing up some of the greatest milestones and memories a teenager gains in these events. Recognizing the financial impact that would have had on Carissa’s memories is why we decided to expand our water safety programs to prom dresses! Every young girl should have the opportunity to go to prom regardless of their parents ability to pay for a dress.
To keep her spirit alive through our life saving water program as well as honoring her life and personality through our Forever 9 prom dress program. Carissa was very giving, very vibrant and loved all things girly and sparkly! She loved every color! She loved to dance and sing her heart out to her favorite song! Carissa lived in each moment 100%! Every moment was her favorite while she was in it. We want to make sure that every girl has this opportunity. Parents who figure out a way to afford that dress, can now get a tax deduction for that expense if they donate the dress to our foundation after prom. We will make sure that dress is available free of charge for a less fortunate girl to choose for her very own event! The dress recipient will have an appointment time to come in and have their own time to look at our available dresses and choose the perfect one. After choosing and trying on their gown, the gown will be professionally cleaned and ready for their big day! We are a very new program, so if we don’t have what you need until we grow our inventory, we will do our best to find a dress by other means. We are a non profit, so our ability to provide is directly linked to the kindness of those in our community and their ability to give. Please spread the word!
How do I qualify
If you can afford a dress, Forever 9 is NOT for you. We are here to help girls who would otherwise not be able to attend that event without our help. If you do not live in Meriden, Ozawkie, Oskaloosa, Horton, Perry, Valley Falls or Everest KS, please search for other programs in your area. As we grow, we can expand. We require a valid school ID. Each situation will be determined based on family size, income and circumstances.