Hundreds of Free Dresses and Suits
Since 2013, Georgia Native Gwendolyn Braswell has hosted the annual Diva-Fella Ball where GED graduates are given the chance to attend a free prom since they weren’t offered the opportunity. Over the years, hundreds of free dresses and suits have been given away to Atlanta graduates through Braswell’s prom and dress tuxedo attire drive.
This year’s Diva-Fella Ball takes place on June 26, 2022, at New Manchester High School.
“Everybody deserves a second chance. The girls love it, but the guys love it even more.”– Gwendolyn Braswell
GED graduates also receive free hair styling, make-up services, and career development.
Braswell started hosting these balls for two reasons: she couldn’t afford prom and her son was a GED graduate.
Diva-Fella Ball is through Braswell’s nonprofit Dry Bones Collaborative Outreach. The nonprofit received its 501c3 status in 2021 but has been doing the work since 2009.
Dry Bones, formerly known as Dry Bones Street Project, began with a Thanksgiving dinner giveaway. The goal was to feed 10 families but over 100 families were fed. The nonprofit’s mission is to serve women, children, and families through social initiatives focused on mental health, education, and economic empowerment.
Expanding Reach by Partnering
To expand the reach of the Diva-Fella Ball, Braswell partnered with Blessings Working Together, a nonprofit that provides a supportive, nonjudgmental environment for teen mothers who are at risk for homelessness. Founder Taressa Williams knows how it felt to not be given the chance to attend prom, so she hopped on board with Braswell.
This year’s prom was also opened up to high school graduates who couldn’t attend prom because of COVID.
Graduates and students were required to attend The Rise Up Career Fair & Continuing Education Seminar, which was free as well. Participants were able to network and learn about life, careers, and more.
“We wanted to empower them…by providing education,” said Williams.
Braswell and Williams partnered with other local organizations and individuals to bring this year’s vision to life.
Transportation to the seminar and prom was offered upon request.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.