Rotarians host annual Prom Closet for teens

Rotarians from throughout the Valley volunteer each year to assist with the Peoria North Rotary Club’s Prom Closet, an event held in March and April that provides free formal attire to boys and girls attending high school prom. (Bret McKeand/Submitted)

Young boys and girls throughout the state will be able to attend their high school prom this spring without having to spend a single penny on purchasing needed attire thanks to the efforts of Arizona Rotarians.

Beginning at the end of March and continuing the first weekend in April, the Prom Closet — a project spearheaded by the Peoria North Rotary Club — will provide formal prom attire to boys and girls at absolutely no charge.

This year’s Prom Closet takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25; Sunday, March 26; Saturday, April 1; and Sunday, April 2, at the Glendale System of Care Center, 7677 W. Bethany Home Road, Glendale.

All high school teens are invited. There are no financial requirements, and no application needs to be completed to participate.

The Prom Closet has thousands of formal prom dresses to choose from, as well as shoes and accessories. In addition to women’s clothing and accessories, items available to men include shirts, slacks and ties.

The program was initially started 12 years ago by Mary Ann Baker, a founding member and past president of the Peoria North Rotary Club. The Peoria club assumed total oversight of the Prom Closet six years ago and is supported by volunteer Rotarians from Sun City, Glendale, Surprise and Phoenix.

“It’s really grown into a communitywide project,” said Donnis Deever, a member of Peoria North Rotary Club and chair of this year’s project.

“Not only do we have Rotarians from throughout the Valley, but we have many other residents who have joined on as volunteers, many of whom felt the impact of the program when their sons or daughters visited the Prom Closet in the past.”

While reservations are not needed, there may be a short wait depending on the amount of people in attendance. Rotary volunteers accompany students individually through the Prom Closet to assist them with their selections.

Formal attire is only available to students.

The event has steadily grown over the years as word continues to spread. Last year, nearly 400 students from 70 Arizona high schools were served.

“We had several students come from as far away as Winslow,” Deever said.

Rotary is an international service organization with members throughout the world. Eliminating polio is a major focus of the organization, but other areas of focus include improving literacy, providing sustainable fresh water and helping those in need.

“Rotary’s motto is ‘People of Action,’ and we think the Prom Closet lives up to that credo about as well as anything we can do,” said Vernon Bridges, president of the Peoria North Rotary Club.

All items from the dresses to sport coats to shoes have been donated to the club over the years.

Donations are currently accepted at several locations throughout the Valley. Deever can be reached at For more information and a complete list of drop-off sites, visit