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Prom dress charity lives on
In memory of Becca, loved ones collect gowns for needy girls
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POMPANO BEACH, Fla. the editor
News _ Before she died in a car Ask a question at
accident last year, 16- "Ask the Editors"
Business year-old Rebecca Kirtman
Nation/World collected about 250 prom
Voices dresses and gave them to
needy girls across South
Full headline list Now her closet of dresses Rebecca Kirtman, shown in a 2002 photo,
Archives with some of the 250 prom dresses she
Photo reprints is open to girls around the
collected and gave to needy girls across
world. South Florida.
Letters Inspired by her kindness, Rebecca's parents, friends and family
have collected more than 3,000 gowns and opened a boutique in
Sports Pompano Beach. More than two dozen chapters of Becca's
Closet are opening in nine states, and another is starting in
NW Sports Stats "She would have loved to see this," said Rebecca's 17-year-old
friend Alexandra Venezia as she helped girls pick out dresses at
Community the boutique.
For the record Rebecca died Aug. 20, just days before the start of her junior
Obituaries year, while driving home from orientation at Nova High School. Money Saving Coupons
Her car collided with a sport-utility vehicle on a rain-slick road Save money by using
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S-R Jobs » "It just seemed overwhelming," said Phil Goldstein, a board
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member whose daughter, Jenna, was friends with Rebecca. "I View the new and used
thought someday we would be a big organization, but I didn't inventory of the areas
realize it would happen so soon." biggest car dealers.
Donations of dresses -- sizes 0 to 42 -- have come from across
the country, including five from the set of the soap opera "The
Young and the Restless" and an anonymous shipment of
$10,000 worth of gowns from Mississippi.
On April 10, Rebecca's 17th birthday, the group moved from a
donated storage facility into the boutique at Festival Marketplace,
a flea market in town.
Read today's e-paper That is where girls such as Phaedra Fleming come by
appointment to look through racks of dresses to find the perfect
Fleming, a senior at Cross Creek School in Pompano Beach,
was in foster care until October, when she turned 18, and now
lives on a stipend from the state. It is not enough for luxuries like
"At that point, I was like, I'm not going," Fleming said.
She contacted Gary Levine, her former caseworker, and he
directed her to Becca's Closet. There she found an elegant
Donna Gray embroidered silver dress with a matching shawl.
"Realistically, without this, there's no prom dress," Levine said.
Later that morning, 18-year-old Dionne Thompson left the
boutique with a sparkly, floor-length, midnight blue gown.
Thompson lives with her sister and plans to attend the prom at
Blanche Ely High in Pompano Beach.
"I never thought I was going to go to my senior prom," Thompson
Girls who need a dress contact the organization through the Web
site to make an appointment at the boutique. They must show a
student ID, but no proof of need.
"We're doing it the way Rebecca did it -- the honor system," said
her mother, Pam Kirtman.
She said sharing the joys of the prom with other people was a
fitting tribute to her daughter. "Rebecca loved to party, she loved
music, she loved to be with her friends," her mother said.
Rebecca started her dress bank last year after reading a
magazine article about wealthy girls at a boarding school who
donated their old dresses to a less-affluent school. She wrote to
dress companies for donations. Delray Beach-based Alfred
Angelo Bridal Company Stores donated 200 dresses.
With the expanded project, "it helps because you can remember
Becca. She loved to help other people," said Venezia, her friend.
She added: "Like she said, `Little things can make a big
The Spokesman-Review.com - Prom dress charity lives on Page 3 of 3
difference.' Now I see where she was coming from when she
actually said it."
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