Atlanta teens get dresses, makeovers for prom

Prom season just became a whole lot brighter for 25 Atlanta teenagers.

The juniors and seniors in Atlanta public schools are now super prepped for prom with flowing gowns and sparkly accessories, $50 gift certificates for shoes, luxury gift bags and hair salon appointments.

Their transformation took place Tuesday evening at Turner Field. The event, called “She Can Dream — Prom Makeover,” was hosted by the Braves Wives. The prom makeover is part of the Braves’ new “She is Brave” initiative, which promotes self-esteem, healthy lifestyles and leadership skills for girls.

Destiny Taylor, 17, was overwhelmed by the experience.

“My mom is a single parent, and I didn’t want to put too much pressure on her so we can have what we need at home,” said Destiny, a junior at Coretta Scott King High School. “If I wasn’t invited to be here I wouldn’t have gone to the prom. And that’s every girl’s dream, to go to the prom wearing a beautiful prom dress and to take pictures.”

As the two-hour event began, the girls filed somewhat somberly into a buffet line at the 755 Club, a little unnerved, one said later, by all of the cameras.

All reserve was lost as soon as the girls polished off their chicken fingers, hot dogs and pasta salad. They swooped into the dress racks with the wives and girlfriends of nine Atlanta Braves players and coaches.

More than 120 dresses, sizes 2 to 24, and a table full of jewelry awaited them, courtesy of Fairy Tale Endings, a charity in Woodstock.

The girls got makeup tips from freelance makeup artist Selena Gilbert and hair care tips from celebrity hair stylist Patrice Hector and Sophia Johnson, owner of East Atlanta's SoKai Salon. SoKai's stylists will do each girl's hair in time for her prom.

The Braves wives jumped right into the mix as the girls speed-shopped for the perfect dress.

Carver High School senior Gena Corbin, 18, spun around like a dancer to show off the ruffles of the lovely pink gown. In the fall, Gena will attend Alabama A&M University in Huntsville. On this day, she said yes to a dress she found with Bri Pugh, girlfriend of second baseman Jace Peterson.

“This has been so fun,” Pugh said. “Gena found her a dress that she loves and looks beautiful in and that just warms my heart.”

Chelsea Freeman, wife of first baseman Freddie Freeman, said the event was amazing.

“It gives you flashbacks of when you went to your own prom,” she said. “A lot of the moms have been tearing up. … I hope that next year it will get bigger and bigger and we can help more girls.”

Dreamer Daniels could feel her life changing as she tried on a billowy yellow gown that made her think of Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.”

The 18-year-old senior at Coretta Scott King High has had her share of challenges. Both her parents died after illnesses a couple of years ago. In the fall, she will attend Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock on a band scholarship.

Since her parents died, Dreamer said, “I’ve sort of been living in a shell.”

That barrier dissolved when she found herself surrounded by four Braves wives who happily fussed over her, helping her settle into the gown she adores.

“I felt like I did it. I broke the shell!” Dreamer said, smiling. “I know my parents would be happy.”