NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A group of community organizations offered students some help Monday, lightening their financial load with free dresses, shoes and accessories for prom.

As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, racks of dresses, rows of shoes, and tables full of hair and makeup products were all being given away for free to the graduating seniors at the Urban Assembly Institute for Math and Science for Young Women in downtown Brooklyn.

One by one, the blindfolded students were led into their school gym for the big announcement.

“I’m really excited; I really do appreciate it,” said senior Megi Hysko.

“This is definitely a blessing, and I’m so appreciative,” said senior Samarra Scantlebury.

All 55 seniors got to sort through racks of dresses and rows of shoes. Their academic achievements won them the prom freebies, as well as trial hair and makeup sessions, as part of the Empress Project.

“The Empress Project is an amazing initiative where we dedicate our time to underprivileged young women who have done amazingly all year long,” said Tekoa Hash of the Teknique Agency, “and at this time of the year, they could use a little extra push.”

“Each lady will be able to walk out with a prom dress, jewelry, all types of stuff for your hair. Shoes are downstairs, makeup, everything,” said Monique Harris of Closet Gem.

“The average prom dress price nowadays in New York City. you’re looking at upwards of $600,” said Paulette Cleghorn of Forever Enchanted. “We’re hoping that by giving them and donating these beautiful dresses, they’ll be able to buy some books.”

All of the young ladies are college-bound, and many are already saving for school expenses. They said ay not having to worry about paying for pricey prom dresses is a real relief.

“I wasn’t even going to go to prom because of the expenses of the dress and stuff, you know, I really wanted to focus my expenses on college and getting fully prepared,” said senior Fatima Hafiz. “Because our school is doing all this for us, I’m being able to go to prom with my friends and have fun, you know?”

The students were trying out their looks on Monday and will finalize them on prom night June 5.

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