Teens styled for prom

Published 9:30 pm Friday, May 26, 2017

Suffolk teens went to prom in style thanks to the good hearts of Sentara employees.

Young women visited Sentara Belleharbour on May 15 to choose a dress for prom season at the hospital’s first Prom Gown Giveaway. The giveaway was arranged by clinical laboratory assistant Tarry Boykins, with the help of Sentara’s Helping Hands Program and other contributors.

“Your junior or senior prom is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Boykins said. “You want to look your very best.”

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Sentara Obici Vice President of Patient Care Services Phyllis Stoneburner, staff and others donated 31 gowns for the giveaway, plus three tuxedo jackets and a pair of men’s shoes. All the dresses were cleaned by Suffolk Quality Cleaners.

Sentara clinical laboratory assistant Tarry Boykins collected 31 dresses with the help of various donors for her Prom Dress Giveaway at Sentara Belleharbor Hospital on May 15.

Boykins sent emails to different high schools in Suffolk and Smithfield and made posts on Facebook leading up to the giveaway. About 20 young women arrived that afternoon to pick a prom dress at no cost that they couldn’t afford otherwise.

“It went a little bit better than we expected,” Boykins said. “God laid it on my heart to just help. I can just see the girls in them looking so beautiful and fabulous,” she said.

Boykins has lived in Suffolk all her life, and she spends much of her time helping others in need. She collects blankets for Suffolk homeless in the winter and puts together care packages of living essentials for them in the summer.

“I want people to realize that there are homeless people here in Suffolk, and for them to realize that there is a need to not only help the homeless, but for all of those in need,” she said.

Her own prom as a graduate of John F. Kennedy High School class of 1985 is a lifelong memory for both her and her husband, Thomas.

“I went to prom with my high school sweetheart, who I’ve now been married to for 28 years,” she said.

She hopes to bring back the giveaway next year and beyond to make sure these young women also have storybook evenings.

“It’s your one time to step out and look like you are part of a high-class society, and I wanted each and every girl to feel that way for their junior or senior prom,” she said.