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As a senior in high school, Casey Carignan started a chapter of Becca's Closet — a nonprofit that donates prom dresses to underprivileged girls — in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Last year Carignan won the Purple Dress Award through Donatemydress.org, and with the money she received she opened a shop to house the dresses.
During her senior year at Baraboo High School, Casey Carignan helped start a local chapter of Becca’s Closet. The inspiration for the idea came from Kristin Terry and Emily Arendsee, two teachers at her high school. Casey collected dresses, learned more about the organization, and did interviews with the local paper to help spread the word about this national nonprofit.
Becca’s Closet was started by Becca Kirtman in Florida. When she was a freshman in high school, she launched a drive for girls who couldn’t afford to purchase prom dresses and accessories. She felt that everyone should be able to attend a school event. The year after she started the drive, Becca passed away in a car accident, and so her parents decided to continue her efforts in her memory. There are now 50 chapters throughout 25 states.
Casey, now a STEM Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and her former teacher Kristin are adult coordinators for the Wisconsin chapter, along with Casey Kothbauer as a student coordinator. In its first year, the chapter received The Purple Dress Award through DonateMyDress.org, the first national network to bring together local dress drive organizations. The Baraboo Chapter has received over 200 dresses, countless beautiful accessories, and 360 sets of Bumpits from the Bumpit Corporation. The local community and businesses also help in many ways by donating free dry cleaning, hairstyling sessions and other items. Casey is busy continuing to grow the Baraboo Chapter with a fundraiser in the spring and plans for a permanent home for the dresses and accessories. .