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WeGo Boutique for Homecoming : It’s Happening!

West Chicago Voice - The voice of West Chicago, Illinois - digital local news - for locals by locals . WeGo Boutique for Prom and Now Homecoming
Sharing is Caring, WeGo!

A high school counselor’s job description might go something like this: assist students in the areas of academics, college, and career guidance, or provide supportive psycho-social services. Organizing a way for kids to access free formal wear if they can’t afford it is not usually something they specialize in but #WeAreWeGo and we do things a little differently around here. WCCHS has some of the most empathetic and supportive teachers, counselors and staff a student ever could ask for. Going to a dance like prom or homecoming can be very expensive considering all the costs for outfit, hair, makeup, ticket, etc.

“WeGo Boutique was created in 2017. We started researching to see if any community organizations had any prom boutiques nearby for students that we knew could not afford to go without some support. We found a couple, but they were too far away for students to easily access. By providing access to free formal wear and accessories at the [West Chicago] high school, our hope is that we can make these events more affordable for our students and not hold anyone back from experiencing the excitement of a high school dance.” – Julie Hensley, Counselor, West Chicago Community High School

WeGo Boutique started with a social worker and counselor and now includes the majority of the entire Student Services department (counselors, social workers, and deans). Due to the success of previous WeGo Boutique events for Prom, they have decided to open it for Homecoming this year.  “We had about 50 students attend our last event. We are finally at a point where we have collected enough donations to make this possible” Hensley said.

Heartwarmingly, the boutique started with the staff donating from their own personal closets. This included dresses and accessories they wore for their own prom and homecoming dances as well as bridesmaid dresses.

“We also reached out to our family, friends, WeGo staff, and the community for donations. Our first year we spent collecting dresses and only had a few participants.” Hensley stated. Since then, the group has partnered with USAgain in West Chicago. USAgain has donated over 200 dresses (including brand-new dresses with the tags still on) and offered to store the dresses at their warehouse since there is limited space to store them at the high school. The textile recycling company collects, recycles, and repurposes clothing. (To Learn More About USAgain, see this story in the West Chicago Voice) The members of WeGo Boutique have also reached out to their local Buy Nothing Facebook groups for donations as well.

The formal wear collection started with just dresses, but it has expanded to include formal wear for all genders. The hope is to continue to receive donations and expand since there is a limited selection of dress shirts and pants. Dresses will be available in sizes 0-24. In addition to the dresses they also have accessories including purses, shoes, jewelry, ties, makeup, etc.  

Julie Hensley said, “Our goal is for students to shop and find a dress they love and not have to settle. Also, our students get to keep everything, so we need to replenish our supply to keep the boutique running.”

If West Chicago Voice readers and the community at large are interested in getting involved by donating new or gently used formal wear, accessories, or shoes they may email Julie Hensley at jhensley@d94.org, to coordinate a time for drop-off.

Any students who wish to participate should make an appointment and then go to the auditorium lobby inside WCCHS on September 14 -15 during their assigned student lunch period.

Sign up for an appointment here  

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