Duo teams up to provide free prom dresses for Knox County teens

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – For high school students, going to prom can be costly — especially when it comes to buying a dress.

Pastor Todd Stinnett of Black Oak Heights Baptist Church and his sister-in-law Lindsay Maples, who owns Hair Designers of Deane Hill, started out providing prom dresses free of charge for Powell High School girls who need them. Now, they’ve expanded their reach to include every high school juniors and seniors in Knox County who needs a dress for prom.

They’re calling it the “Princess Project.” The two hope their act of kindness will inspire the students and others to accept what’s being offered and one day, pay it forward.

In addition to the dresses, Maples has gathered a team of professionals in the beauty industry to provide hair, makeup and manicures for any girl attending the Powell prom. That takes place May 6 at the church.

Lindsay Maples

“We want them to be able to have the time of their life and experience prom by doing hair and nails and dresses and everything and just being able to relax and enjoy it like they’ve always dreamed of,” Maples said.

Pastor Stinnett says the event is a big help to find a way to afford the expense of this special night in a girl’s life.

“We did the math, and we feel like by the time you get a dress and you do your hair and you get the nails and the makeup and the accessories and everything that goes with it for these young ladies, you’re spending probably about a thousand dollars,” said Stinett.

Pastor Todd Stinnett of Black Oak Heights Baptist Church

There’s more to it than dollars and cents. There’s a lot of heart behind the Princess Project.

After hearing about the effort, congregation and community members dropped off their gently used dresses.

Pat Morden was waiting for the right time to say “goodbye” to hers. “I felt like a princess that day and I want someone else to enjoy this dress, ” she said.

Maples says it’s all about inspiring girls to give back one day themselves.

“By doing this, one day these girls that we’ve touched in some way by doing something so sweet and nice to them to let them know there are good people out there and hopefully one day they’ll pay it forward to somebody else.”

If you or someone you know needs a prom dress for a Knox County schools prom, call Black Oak Heights Baptist Church at 865-689-5397 or Lindsay Maples of Hair Designers at Deane Hill at 865-789-7718.

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